Anyone used to watching traditional UK television will likely already be aware that two of the biggest names in broadcasting, BBC and ITV, have been competing against each other for decades. Even following the rise of Sky and a whole host of digital TV channels, the rivalry between the two brands has remained absolute. That is, however, until one major new foe emerged out of nowhere. That foe is Netflix, and news this week has revealed that the broadcasters will be working together via a whole new streaming service.
The service will launch later this year under the name BritBox, and it will reportedly bring a slew of archive BBC and ITV shows together for the first time to be watched on demand. While both networks operate their own catch-up services in iPlayer and ITV Hub respectively, BritBox will be the first subscription venture between the pair to directly compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.
ITV and BBC team up for 'BritBox' Netflix rival [video]
There is little doubt that streaming has eaten into traditional broadcasting in a big way. After all, the allure of being able to watch what you want when you want is of course seen as preferable over waiting for your favorite shows to pop up! The Guardian states that BritBox will not be hosting current or new shows, and will instead be focusing on celebrating big shows and serials from the channels’ lengthy past. Will this mean that BBC poaches the likes of Doctor Who from Netflix – and will it mean that ITV finally releases its enormous catalogue of popular serial shows such as The Bill and Coronation Street? It’ll remain to be seen at this stage.
Word of British channels coming together to bring streaming to the masses is nothing new. Over a decade ago, a proposal for such a platform in the form of Project Kangaroo was blocked as it was deemed unfair in terms of competition. However, the TV landscape has evolved massively since then. Another popular UK broadcaster, Channel 4, is thought to have initially been involved with regard to BritBox discussions – though nothing more is known regarding their involvement at present (they too have their own streaming service in the form of All4).
Does this latest move in the TV game signal more than ever that traditional television could be extinct by the time the 2030s roll around? On demand is seeming to be the future – and that could be very exciting indeed.