BBC and ITV reveal BritBox streaming service for US fans of British TV shows

14 Dec 2016

Classics like Fawlty Towers will soon stream their way across the Atlantic. Image:

BBC and ITV are collaborating on a new streaming venture called BritBox, a kind of Netflix for US fans of British TV shows.

British TV shows – from comedy to drama and soaps – are a rich trove of entertainment, but unfortunately for many US fans, all kinds of workarounds were employed to get these shows over the internet.

But now – for a fee – rivals BBC and ITV are working together to tap into the lucrative US streaming market.

‘This will be a must-have service for lovers of British television’

The result: an ad-free streaming video-on-demand service called BritBox.

BritBox will launch in the first quarter of 2017 in the US and will premiere dramas like New Blood, In the Dark and Silent Witness.

Are you being served?

Classics such as Fawlty Towers, Upstairs Downstairs and Pride and Prejudice will also feature.

Staples of British television like EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City and Emmerdale will be available to watch in the US 24 hours after they are broadcast in the UK.

AMC Networks, which has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for cable channel BBC America, is investing in BritBox with a non-voting minority interest. BBC Worldwide and ITV share an equal majority stake in the joint venture.

“The BBC and ITV are the two most prolific content producers and broadcasters in British television – both known for their unrivalled, groundbreaking shows,” said Ann Sarnoff, president of BBC Worldwide North America.

“BritBox will offer a streaming experience like no other, with thousands of hours of programmes 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.”

BritBox will be available on responsive web, mobile (iOS and Android), Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast upon launching in the US. There is also an ambition to roll out the service in other international markets. Pricing for the service will be available at launch.

“Britain produces some of the best television in the world and we’re delighted to be bringing the creative might of the BBC and ITV together for the first time in this exciting new streaming service for US fans,” said Simon Pitts, ITV managing director of online, pay TV and interactive.

“BritBox will be the best and most comprehensive British streaming service in the US; a rich catalogue of classic, new, and exclusive shows easily accessible to US viewers all in one place. ITV is now a global production and distribution business and this marks the first step in our international ambitions for BritBox.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years