Back in 2007 the UK’s three largest broadcasters, the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 had a brilliant idea – team up to create an online streaming platform where subscribers could access their extensive and often iconic archives (Doctor Who, anybody?!) and existing catalogues for a low monthly fee. The idea was shot down by the UK’s Competition Commission after much lobbying by commercial rivals. Sky. It was Sky.
Now, a whole decade and two years’ change later, BBC and ITV will finally be able to bring the project, named BritBox, to life in the UK. A few things are worth noting here:
The reason the project was initially shut down was because regulators believed it’d lead to a monopoly situation
BBC and ITV have already successfully launched BritBox in North America (oh, the hilarity)
There’s no clarity on what exactly will happen to existing co-production agreements with other streaming services if BritBox becomes a reality
So, yes, as British broadcasters have had to watch services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video create, enter, and begin to dominate the video-on-demand market on a global scale, they’ve probably been seething because they had this idea back when it would have been groundbreaking. But they kept calm and carried on and now, if BritBox is finally approved by regulators, that perseverance will pay off. The service will launch in the second half of 2019.
Sadly for fans of British TV, BritBox will only launch in the UK initially. But if other streaming services are anything to go by, we’ll all eventually be able to curl up for some BritBox and Bang – you know what, nevermind.