How you’ll be able to watch Britbox, and what BBC and ITV will charge you

Carolyn McCall, the ITV chief executive.
Carolyn McCall, the ITV chief executive.
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The BBC and ITV have confirmed plans for a joint UK streaming service to rival the American market leader, Netflix.

Channels 4 and 5 are also in talks about joining the venture, to be called BritBox and likely to launch later this year.

It will make available box sets from both broadcasters after they have ceased to be available on the iPlayer or ITV Hub.

But unlike those services, BritBox will be accessible only upon payment of a fee, the details of which have yet to be announced.

It is likely to be available on streaming sticks and boxes by Google, Roku and others, and could be built into future smart TV sets – but its developers have not said whether it will work with existing models.

ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall (inset), said BritBox would not compete directly with Netflix but would be “complementary”.

She said: “Netflix is global. When we’re creating content, we’re creating it for the UK.”

The service would be “very good” for producers, she added, “because we are putting more money into the British creative industry”.

She said ITV would honour existing agreements with Netflix and other streaming services which pay for some of its back catalogue.

The BBC, which said it would not use money from the licence fee to finance the new service, announced separately that it hoped to extend the length of time its programmes are on the iPlayer beyond the current 30 days.

Its director general, Tony Hall said the new service would be “truly special”.

The broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, said: “We want to see broadcasters collaborating to keep pace with global players, by offering quality UK content that’s available to viewers whenever and however they want to watch it.”