BritBox, the British streaming joint venture between ITV and BBC Studios, will be available officially in South Africa on 6 August, adding to a growing list of local and international options vying for local viewers’ attention.
BritBox will cost R99.99/month for South African audiences and will include popular British programming such as Doc Martin and Absolutely Fabulous. Streams will be in 1080p resolution.
Customers who sign up for a one-year subscription — a R999.90 commitment — will get two months “free”. There is also a free, seven-day trial “with no obligations” to subscribe.
From launch, BritBox will be on the Web as well as on mobile and tablet devices. Apple TV set-top boxes and certain Samsung and LG smart TVs will also be supported.
CEO Reemah Sakaan said at an online press conference on Tuesday that there is a “massive loyal fan base for British television” in South Africa. Most of the content on the platform will be exclusive to BritBox, Sakaan said.
“Streaming allows us to bring shows straight to streaming. Premieres will regularly arrive within hours of their UK transmission. We are the fastest from UK screen to BritBox stream,” she said.
Ups the ante
The launch of BritBox ups the ante in the streaming market in South Africa, which already includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, YouTube Premium, and MultiChoice Group’s Showmax and DStv Now. EMedia Holdings, the parent of broadcaster e.tv and free-to-air satellite platform Openview, is also expected to unveil a video-on-demand product, called eVOD, on Wednesday evening.
BritBox announced in February that it would be launching in South Africa in the second half of 2021, with the country becoming the fifth market worldwide to get the best-of-British platform. It has also been launched the UK, the US, Canada and Australia – the latter three all having large British expatriate populations.
Neale Dennett, new markets launch director at BritBox, told TechCentral that although he can’t speak on behalf of the BBC, the British broadcaster’s relationship with MultiChoice Group — which carries some of the BBC’s channels locally — will continue, at least for now, and that the two platforms may be complementary to one another. In the longer term, he suggested strategies might change. He emphasised that BritBox will offer a large library of both BBC and ITV content at launch. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media