Yesterday’s news that the BBC and ITV were joining forces to launch its own Netflix rival titled BritBox, has been received less well than the broadcasters may have hoped for.
Both companies released statements on Wednesday saying that they are in the final stages of talks to establish a strategic partnership on the new service. The platform, set to launch in the UK later this year, will host classic British boxsets and series, as well as new commissions created specially for the service. The monthly subscription charge has yet to be determined, but both parties said it would be “competitive.”
Read more: BBC and ITV announce BritBox plan
Online critics have already slated the service for being “a rip off”, questioning why people would want to pay to watch shows and series that have already been aired, and paid for, by the licence fee. People have also taken issue with the name which might work in America, but sounds a bit cheesy over here.
Great, now stop making us pay for the license fee!
— Robert Parks (@Parksey1988) February 27, 2019
I’ll pay for my license fee or this. Pick one.
— Paul (@ORRRPIPEMEOFF) February 27, 2019
You’re presumably still spitballing names, though? Please?
— Ed Harris 🎎 (@edmundharris) February 27, 2019
It will live or die on its content. The days of streaming services all having varied network content are coming to an end, soon they’ll all just have original content but with an added monthly fee, causing us to choose. Basically every channel turning into HBO or Sky.
— Carl Timms (@carltimms) February 27, 2019
BritBox, which already exists in the US, will coexist alongside the networks’ free streaming catch up services BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, and therein lies the rub for most people.
Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, stepped in to the comments to say it would be assessing BBC and ITV’s plan, as it wants to see the broadcasters keeping pace with global streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Ofcom wants to see broadcasters collaborating to keep pace with global players, offering quality UK content that’s available to viewers whenever and however they want to watch it. So we look forward to discussing with ITV and the BBC to help ensure the plans are assessed promptly
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) February 27, 2019
There’s been confirmation of what shows will be coming to the service, but the promotional graphic showed ITV’s Victoria, alongside BBC’s Broadchurch and Les Miserables.
Read more: Secret Netflix codes that unlock content
Currently, the U.K. colour TV licence costs £150.50. That is due to rise to £154.50 on 1 April. A basic monthly Netflix subscription costs £5.99, while the HD subscription is £7.99 per month. Amazon Prime costs £79.00 a year or £7.99 a month.
BritBox is aiming to launch in the second half of 2019.