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ITV, BBC sign Britbox agreement

SVoD will launch in fourth quarter of 2019

ITV and the BBC have announced they have now signed an agreement to launch “British Netflix” Britbox in the UK in the fourth quarter of this year.

The streaming service will be co-branded by ITV and the BBC and according to the broadcasters will showcase the depth and breadth of British creativity, on demand, ad free and all in one place.

BritBox will be an ITV-controlled venture, but as a founding partner, the BBC will contribute to the development of the core purposes and strategic direction of the venture. ITV initially holds 90 per cent and the BBC holds 10 per cent of the equity. The BBC has an option to acquire additional shares over time up to 25 per cent in total and ITV will have the ability to bring additional investors on board. ITV will be able to appoint a majority of the BritBox board while the BBC’s equity stake provides it with board representation from the outset.

BritBox will have its own dedicated management team led by Reemah Sakaan, group director ITV SVoD, who will be responsible for making editorial decisions about the service content while also ensuring alignment with ITV’s and the BBC’s branding and editorial policies.

Both broadcasters have said they will “look at” how best to connect viewers between BritBox, ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer as they search for the content they wish to view.

Britbox’s cost has also been revealed, with the SVoD priced at at £5.99 per month in HD and across multiple screens and devices.

Meanwhile, Ofcom has published its assessment of the relationship between BritBox and the BBC’s publicly-funded activities.

The regulator has provisionally found that the BBC’s proposed involvement is unlikely to distort the market and BritBox is unlikely to gain an unfair competitive advantage as a result of its relationship with the BBC’s public service work.

Ofcom said it has provisionally concluded that the BBC’s involvement in the BritBox service is not a material change to its commercial activities, and no further assessment is required ahead of its launch.