What BritBox launch in the United Kingdom means for Netflix

BritBox library

Another day and yet another potential streaming service to subscribe to. BritBox has announced it will be coming to the United Kingdom after having been established in the United States for almost two years. What does this mean for BBC and ITV content on Netflix in the United Kingdom? Let’s have a look. 

You’re probably sick of the thought of having to fork out for the evergrowing list of separate subscriptions by now. What started off with a few people in the market has quickly grown into a saturated market with content thinly spread across various different platforms. You can’t blame these providers trying to get a slice of the pie but at what greater cost?

BritBox is a service that sets out to offer a collection of content from both the BBC and ITV. As we said above, it’s now been established in the United States where users pay $6.99 a month (or a discounted yearly subscription) and get access to 361 individual titles.

Emmerdale releases new episodes daily on BritBox in the United States

In the United States, the service supports a modest subscriber base with 250,000 subscribers reported in 2018 with that growing to 500,000 as of the time of publishing.

Has BritBox in the United States seen a reduction in BBC & ITV content?

A little. We’ve been tracking Netflix for quite some time and the library has not been reduced. Instead, Netflix and these two providers have been more strategic.

What seems to be the case is that older content from the archives as it ended up on Britbox and then Netflix bids on the newer content. The biggest BBC removal in recent years in the US was Doctor Who but that ended up going to Amazon.

BBC content on Netflix UK

Will BBC and ITV content leave Netflix in the UK after BritBox launches?

It’s unlikely, at least to begin with. In a statement, Dame Carolyn, who is a figurehead behind the initiative said: “existing licensing agreements with Netflix will be honoured.”

That suggests most titles will stay put for now but moving forward they’d likely opt for putting new titles on BritBox instead of dropping them onto Netflix.

Of course, we also have to take into account that fact that ITV already has a premium subscription in the form of ITV Hub+.

Will BritBox have better Originals?

Quality aside, BritBox won’t be able to compete with Netflix immediately at least in quantity. It’s reported that ITV is throwing £25 million into the venture with that increased steadily the year after. If you consider how that dwarfs in comparison to Netflix’s 18 billion spent in 2018 and even more in 2019.

Our take on BritBox

We don’t believe it’s going to affect Netflix in the short run as it’s yet to prove detrimental to the US library at least. It may prevent newer shows to come to Netflix in the future but for the moment, the libraries are significantly different.

The news of BritBox has had mixed reaction throughout today. Many complaining that the BBC portion at least should be offered for free after the fact all Brits have to pay a license fee. Many have already stated this is essentially double-dipping.

This is a costly and risky initiative for BBC and ITV and one that fragments the market even more so. With everyone wanting their piece of the pie the only loser will be us, the consumer and we’ll begin pondering whether cable subscriptions were really so bad after all.

What’s your take? Do you think BritBox will have a negative effect on Netflix? Let us know in the comments.

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