Britbox consulting with BT over investment

Britbox to get another member?

by Andy Bassett Jun 11, 2019 at 10:39 AM

  • Movies & TV News


    Britbox consulting with BT over investment
    Britbox, the BBC and ITV helmed fledgeling streaming service, has already attracted attention from the likes of Channel 4 and now BT is showing interest in a multi-million pound investment.
    According to The Telegraph, BT has held preliminary talks about providing funding to the streaming service which is being fronted by the BBC and ITV. The telecommunications giant is looking to aggregate its services in order to offer its customers access to multiple streaming options via its own services.

    The talks would appear to be a natural evolution since the three companies are already partners in the YouView platform, a free-to-air digital TV service which requires only a set top box to be purchased in order to provide over 70 TV and radio channels plus an on-demand TV catch up service.

    It’s not all plain sailing though and details over the nature of the deal remain unclear, though any investment from BT would go a long way towards helping produce original content which, after Netflix’s success, streaming providers are seeing as a crucial business and creative element behind the success of OTT services.

    Hints of a disagreement over the valuation of the service, even at this early stage, have been mentioned, though interestingly similar snags over valuation issues were reported during talks over YouView as well, so it could just be a usual part of BT’s negotiating tactics.

    BT’s fortunes are in need of a boost after a drop in share price of 50% over the last three years, so investors will probably be happy to see boss Philip Jansen looking to get involved in ventures with potentially valuable income streams.

    As indicated in a trading update to ITV investors earlier in the year, the Netflix-like service is due for release towards the end of 2019. There’s no word on subscription costs but reports indicate it could be in the region of £5 per month.

    Britbox has been available in the US for two years, where its focus on British TV shows has gained it half a million subscribers, so there’s proven popularity in the service, but with the BBC now pushing to make changes to how its iPlayer service operates, it will be interesting to see just what form the domestic version takes.

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