It was boomtime for the streaming services when the world was plunged into Covid lockdowns. Now that we’re not stuck indoors for 23 hours per day, even Netflix is suffering. Things aren’t going swimmingly at the British streaming service BritBox, either. Is BritBox closing? Not as such, but there are big changes afoot for BritBox customers.
Who owns BritBox?
BritBox was launched as a joint venture between the BBC and ITV, providing an on-demand library of shows from their channels, as well as content from Channel 4 and Channel 5.
BritBox was always a bit of an odd proposition, not least because the BBC provides a lot of archive content for free via the BBC iPlayer, as do the other content providers. Meanwhile, original shows commissioned for BritBox – such as the reboot of Spitting Image – never really caught fire.
The service made massive losses as BritBox attempted to attract subscribers. The company reported a loss of £19m in its first year of operation, according to the accounts filed with Companies House. The accounts for last year were due to be filed the end of 2021, but they remain overdue at the time of writing, which is never a good sign.
Cordbusters reports the venture made a loss of £61 million in 2021, which is even more eyebrow raising given the perfect lockdown conditions for streaming services.
What’s happening to BritBox?
ITV is planning to revamp its dismal streaming service, ITV Hub, with ITVX later this year. ITVX will include a premium tier that will include lots of original programming that hasn’t previously appeared on television, and will remove the adverts. BritBox will become part of the ITVX premium content offering.
The BBC (or BBC Worldwide, to be more specific) will no longer be part of the BritBox venture. BBC shows, such as the Doctor Who archive, will still appear on BritBox for the foreseeable future because of existing content deals, although you’d have to question the long-term future of BBC content appearing on an ITV project. Shows from Channel 4 and Channel 5 will also remain part of the BritBox offering for the time being.
However, it seems more than likely that BritBox will slowly fade away as a brand.
What happens to my BritBox subscription?
For the time being, nothing. It continues as normal.
Corbusters reports that BritBox subscribers will “be migrated over to ITVX” when the new service launches. There’s no word on how much an ITVX subscription will cost at this time. Watch this space.
They better keep offering the Shows: Vera and Shetland or I will not move to the new channel.