BBC Studios Set to Launch BBC Select Streaming Service

BBC Studios will launch an ad-free subscription streaming channel called BBC Select in early 2021 on Amazon Prime Video Channels and the Apple TV app. BBC Select will offer a range of programs from the United Kingdom covering three main topics: culture, politics and ideas.

“For nearly a century, the BBC has been synonymous with extraordinary television programs — full stop. Name any genre, the BBC is best in class at identifying talent and providing them a platform for expression,” said Rebecca Glashow, president of BBC Studios — Americas. “As we shift our business focus to engaging our fans direct, the digital space offers us the opportunity to bring audiences a portfolio of shows that bring new ideas and perspectives into the conversation. Our research has shown that audiences are looking for an alternative to what is already out there. BBC Select is it.”

The BBC already operates as a joint venture with ITV the SVOD service BritBox, which also offers a selection of British programming.

BBC Select will feature a range of British talent and shows including Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry and his programs on class, masculinity, and identity, including his latest, “Grayson Perry: Big American Road Trip”; author and documentarian of social issues Stacey Dooley and her series “Brainwashing Stacey”; historian Professor Sir Simon Schama with his new series “The Romantic Revolution”; and filmmaker Louis Theroux and a large collection of his work, including Selling Sex, Surviving America’s Most Hated Family and Talking to Anorexia.

“BBC Select is for those who crave knowledge, new perspectives, and programs that are not your standard fare,” said Louise la Grange, GM and launch Director. “BBC Select will combine a rich line up of never-before-seen shows in the U.S. and Canada with a prized portfolio of thought-provoking, eye-opening programs that provide context and color to the world we all share — all in one place.”

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Exclusives to the service include:

  • “Shock of the Nude,” hosted by Professor of Classics Mary Beard, who gives a personal and provocative take on the nude in western art, from ancient Greece to the present, and asks why artists and viewers seem so obsessed by nudity.
  • “Reggie Yates in China” sees actor, DJ, and presenter Reggie Yates travel to four very different cities in China to discover the new fault-lines in society and how they affect a generation who have grown up with seemingly more freedom than that of any other in the last 70 years.
  • “In Search of Frida Kahlo” follows musician Emeli Sandé — who was inspired by the paintings of Kahlo when writing her album — as she visits Mexico City to tell the story of one of Mexico’s most famous artists.
  • “Fall of an Icon” explores the life of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, who after 15 years of house arrest was celebrated as an icon of democracy. But years on, she is now seen by many as an international pariah.
  • “Mystery of the Missing Princess” tells the story of Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, who attempted to escape from torture and imprisonment at the hands of her father.
  • “Putin — A Russian Spy Story” is the portrait of a politician who modeled himself on the Russian James Bond and whose presidency reads like a spy thriller.
  • “The Last Igloo” follows a lone Inuit as he hunts, fishes, and constructs an igloo. It tells the story of skills that are disappearing and of how climate change is affecting the lives of Greenland’s indigenous people.
  • BAFTA-winning documentarian Adam Curtis and his “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” argues that computers have failed to liberate humanity, and instead have “distorted and simplified our view of the world around us.”

 

Pricing, launching platforms and more content will be announced at a later date.

 

HBO Max Gets Streaming Rights to ‘Doctor Who’ Series in New Deal with BBC Studios

Pending streaming service HBO Max has secured the exclusive streaming rights to BBC’s longest-running global franchise, “Doctor Who.” All 11 seasons of the modern version of the British sci-fi hit drama will be available on WarnerMedia’s SVOD service at launch in spring 2020.

As part of HBO Max’s new long-term deal with BBC Studios, the streamer will also be the exclusive SVOD home for future seasons after they air on BBC America.

In addition to “Doctor Who,” HBO Max has licensed 700 episodes of iconic BBC series such as “The Office,” “Top Gear,” “Luther” and “The Honorable Woman.”

“‘Doctor Who’ is one of television’s all-time, most beloved series, on both sides of the pond, and we are happy to be the exclusive streaming stewards for this BBC gem” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “Another series to further define the high-quality content experience consumers can expect from HBO Max.”

“As any ‘Doctor Who’ fan knows, the iconic TARDIS [fictional time machine] is ‘bigger on the inside’ — and it’s a good thing because the TARDIS is about to welcome a whole new slew of fans coming to the show through this deal with HBO Max,” said Nigel Gaines, interim president, BBC Studios — Americas. “HBO Max’s ambitious content line-up is the perfect complement to the ‘Doctor Who’ global franchise, in addition to some of our most award-winning and game-changing U.K. dramas and comedies.”

“‘Doctor Who’ is a program like no other — an incredibly rich world of stories, packed with adventure, regeneration, heart (two actually) and hope. Our audience is incredibly dedicated and engaged, and we can’t wait to work with HBO Max to tell our stories from across all of time and space,” said Sally de St Croix, “Doctor Who” global franchise director.

The BBC deal also includes original British television mockumentary “The Office,” created, written and directed by Golden Globe and Emmy winners Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The show follows the day-to-day lives of office employees of the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. The deal includes two seasons and two specials.

Long running car show “Top Gear” featuring several seasons with original hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May plus the most recent casts including Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff. The deal includes multiple seasons.

British crime drama “Luther” stars Idris Elba as Detective John Luther working for the Serious Crime Unit who becomes consumed by the crimes he investigates. Created and written by Neil Cross, the series has received eleven Primetime Emmy Award nominations with Elba also receiving a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Television Award, NAACP Image Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance.  Deal includes all five seasons.

Nine-part mini-series “The Honorable Woman” centers on Nessa Stein, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who inherits her father’s arms business and finds herself in an international maelstrom as she continues to promote the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. It was created, written and directed by Hugo Blick.

The deal also includes new titles “Pure”, “Trigonometry”, “Stath Lets Flats”, “Home” and “Ghosts” which will all be available exclusively to HBO Max upon launch of the service.

All of these shows join HBO Max’s library, which is anticipated to boast 10,000 hours of programming at launch, including key licensed third-party programming and a rich array of content that brings the HBO service together with WarnerMedia’s portfolio of powerful brands: Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Hello Sunshine, Looney Tunes and more.

In addition to HBO Max’s vast selection of beloved library titles, the service will also feature the entire HBO library of hits including fan favorites “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones,” as well as previously announced acquisitions “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Pretty Little Liars” and all 236 episodes of“Friends.”

HBO Max will also be the exclusive out-of-season streaming home to a string of new Warner Bros. produced dramas for The CW, including the highly-anticipated new DC series “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene” (a spinoff of “Riverdale”). The streamer will also be home to the critically acclaimed DC series “Doom Patrol,” with the first-season available at launch and new episodes set to debut simultaneously on DC Universe and HBO Max.

The SVOD is also developing a strong originals slate with film and television projects geared toward all audience segments in the home.

Season 2 of ‘Killing Eve’ on Disc June 18

BBC Studios will release Killing Eve: Season Two on Blu-ray and DVD June 18.

Picking up where the first season left off, MI6 operative Eve (Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh) renews her search for the psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

Extras include featurettes about the characters of Eve, Villanelle and Carolyn; the “Killing Eve” costume designer; filming on location; bringing the script to the screen; and new characters.

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BBC Studios will also release Luther: Season 5, starring Idris Elba, on DVD July 9, and a Luther: The Complete Series on DVD July 16.

Disc Sale Declines Undermine BBC Worldwide Fiscal Revenue

BBC Worldwide July 11 said it generated £1.04 billion ($1.38 billion) in fiscal year revenue, ended March 31. That compared to revenue of £1.05 billion ($1.39 billion) during the previous-year period.

The BBC, which combined BBC Worldwide with BBC Studios in April into a single entity, attributed the revenue dip in part to declining packaged media sales, including DVD.

Regardless, pre-tax earnings increased 42% to £118.3 million ($157 million) from £83.5 million ($110 million) last year. The BBC said the increase reflected strong content sales, cost efficiencies across branded services and overhead savings.

Other highlights included BritBox, the North American SVOD service partnership with ITV, ended the fiscal year with 250,000 subscribers after bowing service in Canada.

BBC Worldwide entered into several new global deals during the fiscal year, including with Shanghai Media Group Pictures (a leading Chinese media company), which will see an expansion of the “Doctor Who” brand in China and partnerships with Foxtel, ABC, Sky and Fetch were cemented with new or continued deals in Australia and New Zealand.

Original program, “Blue Planet II,” proved a major success with international audiences, with the premiere becoming the most-watched ad-supported nature episode in nearly eight years on BBC America. “Planet Earth: Blue Planet II” amassed more than 250 million views on Chinese VOD platform Tencent in Q4, ending Dec. 31, 2017.