ITV & BBC To Spend “Tens Of Millions” Of Pounds On Originals For UK Streaming Service BritBox & Eye “Innovative” Formats

Peter White

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ITV and the BBC have revealed that they are to spend tens of millions of pounds on original commissions for its forthcoming SVOD service BritBox with the platform’s launch director telling Deadline that they want to “innovate” with formats across all genres.

Earlier today, the British public broadcaster and commercial network unveiled the official launch of the service with titles including Love Island and Gentleman Jack with Reemah Sakaan, Group Director ITV SVOD, who oversees the service, also revealing that it will have Downton Abbey available after striking a deal with NBCUniversal.

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Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, and BBC Director General, Tony Hall said they hadn’t made a decision in terms of the number of original titles that will debut on the service each year.

However, Sakaan told Deadline that its initial focus would be on drama and comedy. “We’re looking across a huge range of creative opportunities within original commissioning. The successes that we see in streaming tend to start and live in the scripted area. That’s where we’re starting across drama and comedy. BritBox will have all genres on it, we’re very open to documentaries and factual having a place within our original commissions,” she said.

Sakaan said that it would be looking to innovate with formats, episode duration and order runs that the traditional linear networks are not able to do.

The service, which will cost £5.99 per month and will launch in the fourth quarter, is a separate company to U.S. streaming service BritBox, but McCall told Deadline that there would be close links between the two operations. She said that the U.S. was “going very well” with over 650,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

“Reemah has involvement [in BritBox U.S.] and many of the people are involved in [both] but it is a separate entity registered as a separate company with a different governance structure. There are clearly links and there are clearly things that we think learn from the U.S. and Canada,” she added.

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