Britain's two largest broadcast networks, BBC and ITV, have announced a partnership to stream original UK content from their respective channels to U.S. viewers. The new streaming service, called BritBox, will offer thousands of hours of current and vintage programing, some of which will be available immediately following its UK premiere showings.
UK TV Viewing Options In U.S.
Until now, the options for viewers in the U.S. who want to avail themselves of the abundance of programming from our friends across the pond have been limited. Most PBS stations include some original content from the UK, and the BBC America channel is another resource, but its programming is limited to the hours in a day and usually to shows emanating from its parent network.
Streaming services such as Netflix also have occasional offerings of some U.K. shows, such as the streamer's deal to offer sitcom Lovesick (originally known as Scrotal Recall), while AXS TV has broadcast rights to ITV's X Factor singing competition. Despite those options, the great majority of British programming has remained unavailable to U.S. users who don't seek it out on torrent or other underground download sites.
BritBox Changing The Game
That's all about to change shortly, as the two largest UK television broadcasters, BBC and ITV, have teamed up to offer a new streaming service called BritBox.
"The BBC and ITV are the two most prolific content producers and broadcasters in British television — both known for their unrivaled, ground-breaking shows," said Ann Sarnoff, President, BBC Worldwide North America. "BritBox will offer a streaming experience like no other, with thousands of hours of programs across a wide variety of genres — some of which will be available right after their UK broadcast. This will be a must-have service for lovers of British television."
The service will offer up both classic period dramas such as Brideshead Revisited, Pride and Prejudice, and Upstairs Downstairs and iconic sitcoms such as Keeping Up Appearances and Fawlty Towers. It will also enable viewers to watch popular nighttime soaps such as Eastenders, Emmerdale, and Holby City within a day or so after they premiere on UK television. Although not mentioned specifically, it is also likely that popular reality competition series such as I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here and the aforementioned X Factor will also be made available on a timely basis.