The streaming service, which is the product of a joint partnership between BBC Worldwide and United Kingdom broadcaster ITV, launches today with thousands of hours of programming already available for viewing and more being added everyday. "NW", a story of two friends adapted from Zadie Smith's global best-selling novel, will arrive this spring. Other classic comedies include James Corden's Gavin & Stacey, Absolutely Fabulous, Blackadder, and Red Dwarf.
That's not to say BritBox has no value, however. New episodes of some current shows, including "EastEnders", "Emmerdale" and "Casualty", will also be available on BritBox as early as 24 hours after airing in the U.K. Roughly 70 percent of the content on BritBox will be exclusive to the service.
At launch, there are over 2,000 hours of programming and more will be added on a daily basis. According to Sriraman, it's all about the grouping of shows.
The service will also have curated playlists like "Very British Beginnings", which digs up old episodes that feature massive British stars like Daniel Craig and Emily Blunt. Other playlists include "Best of British Comedy", "Iconic Detectives", and "Literary Adaptations". Many U.K. titles are unfamiliar to those this side of the pond, and several of the classic series are on other platforms.
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"BBC and ITV are known for a vast array of diverse and award-winning programming that fans in the USA love and want to watch", said Soumya Sriraman, President, BritBox.
BritBox was formed late previous year as an independent, New York City-based joint venture between BBC Worldwide and ITV, both of which are looking to increase their presence in the U.S. AMC Networks, which also has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for the cable channel BBC America, is involved in the project as well.
The service will cost $6.99 a month, following a free trial, and provides a new revenue source and market for both broadcasters keen to cash in on anglophiles for whom an interest in Downtown Abbey is only the tip of the iceberg. It will roll out on Roku and Chromecast in the near future.