Just two weeks ago, BBC Studios global distribution president Paul Dempsey told Mediaweek:
“We are looking at other markets that could be similar – where there is a latent demand for the best of British content that you can’t find either on the pay TV channels or with the third-party licensing deals we do. When you look for markets that resemble what we have in the US then Australia would be on that list.”
The ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service is promising Australians an unrivalled collection of great British TV shows, and will build on the launch and operation of the service in both North America (USA and Canada) and most recently in the UK.
The announcement about the Australian launch coincides with news today that BritBox now has over 1m subscribers in the US, doubling its audience in just over one year. Subscribers numbers have yet to be revealed in the UK where it only launched last year.
There is no launch date yet for Australia, with BritBox saying “later in 2020”.
The BritBox library will feature British content from across the decades, including classic and contemporary box sets from the UK, delivered to Australian viewers via a wide range of mobile and connected home devices.
Content that could be available at launch includes Blackadder, Death in Paradise, Call the Midwife, Endeavour, Poldark, Absolutely Fabulous, Vera, The Office, Harlots and Confession.
Further announcements on content, price and partnerships will follow.
The service costs $6.99 in the US, with speculation it could launch around $10 in Australia. That is the same price Stan launched at and is still the cost of a basic plan.
BritBox Australia will be run as a 50/50 joint venture between ITV and BBC Studios, and the service will draw on the experience of the teams and technology that have launched BritBox in North America and the UK while also recruiting a local team, including a country manager, to lead the operations in Australia.
Fiona Lang, general manager for BBC Studios ANZ, said: “There’s a real opportunity to build on the momentum and brand that has been established in North America and to make BritBox part of BBC Studios’ future strategy in Australia. Complementing our existing partnerships in the region, BritBox will draw on our vast combined catalogue of acclaimed British content and will deliver it directly to Australian audiences via a proven and seamless streaming service.”
Augustus Dulgaro, executive vice president, Asia Pacific Sales & Distribution for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “It’s great to have a new route to market in Australia for ITV’s best loved British content. We know the powerful combination of UK producers and distributors that the BritBox brand represents has been a consumer hit elsewhere and we look forward to bringing it to Australian fans in 2020.”
BritBox has also just announced its first original commission for the British audience – a new series of the multi-BAFTA-winning, multi-Emmy-nominated Spitting Image, produced by Avalon. Development of the puppets is already underway with Dominic Cummings, James Corden, Donald Trump, RuPaul, Boris Johnson, Beyoncé, Elon Musk, Harry & Meghan, Bernie Sanders, Prince Andrew, Adele, and Vladimir Putin all expected to be featured in the new series.