Sunday 18 August 2019

ITV boss: BritBox streaming service will help us battle headwinds

She said traditional television is facing challenges from global players such as Netflix.

Carolyn McCall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Carolyn McCall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

New streaming service BritBox will help broadcasters battle the “headwinds” facing traditional terrestrial television because of the “deep pockets of global players” such as Netflix and Amazon, according to the chief executive of ITV.

Earlier this year, broadcasters BBC and ITV confirmed plans for a joint UK streaming service in the wake of competition from the US-based giants.

It is being touted as a “long-term home” for many shows after they are no longer available on catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub – and could also include content from Channel 4 and Channel 5.

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The BritBox homepage (BritBox)

Dame Carolyn McCall has told the House of Lords Communications Committee: “The headwinds are quite strong.

“We are mitigating those headwinds, but there are headwinds…”

She said: “There will be a vast, brilliant breadth of content. There is demand for that.”

She added: “We will commission new work in Britain from British producers to constantly encourage subscriptions.”

Asked if there should be concern that ITV will now commission some of its best content for the streaming platform, Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, said: “No, I wish it could be like that!

“They will all be British, they will be shot in the UK, 95% British talent behind the screen and on the screen and they will be made by British production companies including ITV Studios.

“That is a genuine investment in proper productions in the UK and others are talking about investing a lot of money, but we haven’t seen it yet.”

He added: “It will add to what we do, it’s extra expenditure, we have no intention of lowering our programme spend.”

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