ITV and BBC to launch yet another streaming service

The streaming segment is already looking pretty crowded, but ITV and the BBC have decided to pair up to add another premium option into the mix with BritBox.

Priced at £5.99 a month, the service will launch in the final quarter of 2019, undercutting digital rivals who have been making life so difficult for the traditional players these last few years.

“We have a world beating TV industry with outstanding content,” said BBC Director General, Tony Hall. “The BBC and ITV are at the centre of that. Together, we have been responsible for delivering the majority of ‘must see’ moments on British TV over the last decade. That ‘must see’ content will now be on BritBox.”

“The agreement to launch BritBox is a milestone moment. Subscription video on demand is increasingly popular with consumers who love being able to watch what they want when they want to watch it,” said Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV. “They are also happy to pay for this ease of access to quality content and so BritBox is tapping into this, and a new revenue stream for UK public service broadcasters.”

Although negotiations did seem to be on rocky ground occasionally, the BBC did appear to be showing a preference to its own iPlayer service, it might attract interest from various different segments of the UK population. The BBC has attracted plaudits for its programming over the last few years, especially around multi-series boxsets, where this service will focus.

BritBox will now become the home for all BBC and ITV programming once they fall off the streaming services which are already in place. Although ITV is free to put its programming on the ITV Hub for as long as it wants, it is believed Ofcom will force the BBC to make its programming available for a year on the iPlayer.

Bearing in mind both of these organizations already have streaming services for free, some might question what the point of this new service actually is, though there is an opportunity to combine forces and drive original programming exclusively for BritBox. Details are relatively thin on the ground, but the team will take the same approach as Netflix and Amazon, creating exclusive original content to attract subscribers.

EE and ITV data shows football watching is coming home

EE reported sharp drop in broadband traffic when World Cup matches are on, while ITV registered the highest viewership on England’s match against Colombia.

The ongoing FIFA World Cup is pulling users away from the internet and pushing them back in front of the television, it seems. If they have to go outdoors while the match is on, then people switch to live streaming on mobile. The chart below shows how viewers followed the matches on Tuesday 03 July:

How fans watched England's win on the EE network

A few factors may have contributed to the lower traffic registered during the Sweden vs. Switzerland match: it was still office hours therefore fewer people were out in the street; when streaming indoor the traffic would more likely go through Wi-Fi; and the relatively weaker following by the general public.

When the England vs. Colombia match was played, a World Cup record of 23.6 million watched it on ITV at home (the number of those watching in pubs are not available). The mobile traffic pattern also followed closely the progress of the match: peaks at the beginning of the match and the penalty shootout, canyons at half time, 90 minutes, then off the cliff after the last penalty was kicked (and scored).

An interesting data point is that around 1/5 of viewers watched the ITV live streaming through the Sky Go aggregator, despite that ITV Hub is free to all, as is the BBC iPlayer.

Equally interesting is the next chart, which shows mobile users’ behaviours when they moved away from live streaming. They went on social networks:

Fans turn off live streams and take to social during half time

An eye-catching anomaly on the chart is that, right after the match was finished, the traffic generated by Snapchat overtook that by Facebook. As Snap users tend to be younger, this may serve as a reminder to Facebook that it may not be the default platform by the next generation internet users when they share their feelings.

Now the nation is increasingly excited with England in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, the match against Sweden, played next Saturday, will almost guarantee to generate higher mobile traffic and viewership, this time on the BBC.