LONDON — The BBC and ITV are getting together with US cable network AMC to take on Netflix in America.
The three broadcasters are planning to launch Britbox in the first quarter of 2017. Britbox is a subscription online video service that will showcase the best of British TV content to US audiences.
In a press release announcing the Netflix rival, the broadcasters said Britbox will focus on three kinds of content:
- Unseen drama. Scripted shows including British favourites like “Cold Feet” and “Silent Witness” will be premiered on the service.
- Soap opera catch-up. Britbox will make episodes of flagship British soap operas, including “EastEnders” and “Emmerdale,” available to US audiences 24 hours after they have aired in the UK.
- British classics. Iconic UK shows, including period drama “Pride and Prejudice” and sitcom “Fawlty Towers,” will also be showcased.
Britbox will be available on desktop and mobile devices, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast in the US. The BBC and ITV’s ambition is to roll it out to other countries in the future.
The two broadcasters share an equal majority stake in the joint venture. AMC has invested in Britbox but holds a non-voting minority interest in the business.
Ann Sarnoff, president of North America at the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, said: “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.”