The BBC and ITV are joining forces to launch a British-based streaming service to rival Netflix, ITV has announced.
The new service, named BritBox, will offer “an unrivalled collection of British boxsets and original series”, ITV said in a statement.
The collaboration between the terrestrial TV companies will also feature “brand new commissions for British production companies specifically created for BritBox,” the company added.
Neither company has confirmed a proposed cost for the new service, which they aim to launch in the second half of 2019, but ITV said “it will be competitive”.
The announcement came on the day ITV reported a 13% rise in pre-tax profits to £567m for 2018.
ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said BritBox will celebrate “the best of the past, the best of today and investing in new British originated content in the future”.
BBC director general, Tony Hall, said: “The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions.”
BritBox is already available in the US and last month it confirmed it had passed half a million subscribers.
It offers viewers popular British shows such as EastEnders and Fawlty Towers and streams episodes of some shows within 24 hours of their debut in Britain, including Vera and Good Morning Britain.
The statement said that its success in the US showed the two companies have the technological know-how to launch and manage a streaming service and research showed that British viewers have “a real appetite for a new British streaming service”.
More than 12 million UK households have at least one streaming service and figures from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) show the number of homes with one is growing by 20% annually.
Netflix, which recently announced it had reached 137 million subscribers worldwide, is available in the UK on the Sky platform.
As well as winning a host of awards for its series, one of the company’s movies, Roma, won three Oscars at last weekend’s ceremony and had been nominated for 10 in all.
29 million new members joined the service in 2018, 33 percent higher than the 22 million paid subscribers it added in 2017.