BritBox Streaming Service Available on Vizio TVs

British-themed entertainment streaming service BritBox Dec. 15 announced that its $8.99 monthly/$89.99 annual subscription-based app is now available on Vizio connected televisions.

Vizio users have access to a variety of genres, including mysteries, dramas, comedies, lifestyle and documentaries, as well as Agatha Christie titles.

“With a diverse selection of titles spanning from crime to comedy, we will further enhance Vizio’s entertainment offering,” Reemah Sakaan, CEO BritBox International, said in a statement.

The VOD service, which is co-owned by BBC Studios and ITV, surpassed 3.4 million subscribers globally through November since launching in the United States in 2017.

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BritBox Tops 3.4 Million Global Streaming Subscribers

BritBox International Nov. 30 announced that the British-themed subscription streaming VOD service, which is co-owned by BBC Studios and ITV, has surpassed 3.4 million subscribers globally.

The service launched in the United States in 2017 as a competitor to Acorn TV.

Britbox, which operates in eight territories, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, has seen a 15% increase in subs since the start of 2023, according to the service. The service is home to recent originals and co-productions, including “Stonehouse,” “TIME,” “Sherwood,” “Beyond Paradise,” “Payback” and the pending “Archie,” among other titles.

“Blue Lights”

Separately, BritBox announced the launch of two series of British crime drama “Blue Lights” for the United States and Canada. The BBC’s “Blue Lights” is a comedy drama about ordinary people doing an extraordinary job as PSNI probationary recruits in Belfast. The series follows characters navigating their way through their first few months in a uniquely dangerous place to be a response police officer. Series one of the show appeared on BBC One and iPlayer earlier this year. The BBC announced that the drama will return for a second six-episode season series.

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BritBox’s Robert Schildhouse Touts the Service’s Curated Content

BritBox International last year appointed longtime streaming veteran Robert Schildhouse EVP of North America and GM of group marketing services.

At the forefront of the streaming industry since its inception, Schildhouse joined Hulu prior to its launch in 2008, eventually becoming the leader of Hulu’s content acquisition organization, where he and his team led many groundbreaking and innovative deals shepherding hundreds of studios, networks, and global rights holders into the AVOD and SVOD market for the first time.  He later joined the CBS Global Distribution Group as SVP of digital licensing and distribution, where he later rose to EVP, responsible for monetizing the rights of the CBS and Showtime libraries to the streaming marketplace, and EVP of business development.

Media Play News asked Schildhouse about British content’s appeal in an exploding streaming marketplace and how his experience helps him navigate the growing industry.

MPN: You’ve experienced several sides of entertainment distribution, in positions from CBS to Hulu. How have these positions informed your view of the streaming marketplace? 

Schildhouse: While at CBS and Hulu, I saw the entertainment landscape here in the U.S. evolve from Hollywood-centric to global, and a shift towards more customer-targeted entertainment services. Viewers are much more likely to tune into a series or movie from another country than they were 10 years ago; streaming helped to take down those barriers. For a film or series to succeed, it does not need to come out of Hollywood. As long as the content is compelling, audiences are willing to give it a chance. 

MPN: What kind of content does BritBox offer and what’s its appeal?  

Schildhouse: BritBox brings the best of British TV to viewers across North America, as well as Australia, South Africa and the Nordic markets. We are backed by two global leaders in British content — BBC and ITV — which has enabled us to bring programming that is not just from the U.K., but has that British DNA ingrained into its storytelling. What also sets BritBox apart from the competition is our team’s passion and deep knowledge of quality British content that enables BritBox programmers to be prescient about what trends are likely to emerge.  

MPN: What advantages does such a niche subscription service have? 

Schildhouse: BritBox is a destination for fans who are passionate about British content, and passionate about quality television in general. We know our lane really well, and we do not aim to be something for everyone. We see this as a huge advantage in being able to focus on what we know our current and future audience will love, and offering a truly differentiated experience with the deepest library of the best of British content in the market. 

MPN: How does BritBox programming differ from other streamers that offer British content, such as Acorn and PBS? 

Schildhouse: Our backing by powerhouses, the BBC and ITV, the biggest British entertainment brands in the world, enables us to bring the best in British programming to our audience. But beyond that, our key differentiator is our curation. For our audience, we seek out programming that is in the vein of what viewers expect from the U.K., including brilliant comedies, absorbing mysteries, critically acclaimed drama, and momentous live events like the recent “Coronation of King Charles” or the BAFTA Film Awards. Just because a show is created and produced in the U.K., it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fit for our audience. The content we bring to our subscribers is imbued with that quality that they have come to expect.

MPN: What original programming do you have on Britbox and what original programming is upcoming? 

Schildhouse: We’ve brought a number of exciting originals and co-productions to viewers since 2017 like “Stonehouse,” starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes, and Agatha Christie’s “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?,” starring Lucy Boynton and Will Poulter, with the screenplay written by Hugh Laurie. We have an exciting slate of other originals and co-productions coming up, including another Agatha Christie adaptation, Murder Is Easy; the highly anticipated Cary Grant biopic Archie, starring Jason Isaacs; and “Payback,” starring Peter Mullan and Morven Christie.

MPN: What’s the target audience for BritBox and what other audiences might it appeal to? 

Schildhouse: BritBox is not only for the fan of British content looking to explore their passion more deeply, but also quality seekers in general. You can find British series, documentaries, films, and specials through other providers, but our extensive library and curation is unmatched.

MPN: Where can viewers find BritBox? 

Schildhouse: The BritBox app is available for download across most major platforms and can be watched on smart TV, desktop, and mobile.

MPN: You raised prices recently. What was the increase and how was it received? 

Schildhouse: We recently increased our price from $7.99 a month, or $69.99 a year in the U.S., to $8.99 a month, or $89.99 a year, to reflect our increased investment in the best of British programming. Our audience understands that we work hard to bring them an unmatched selection of British content, and they have remained quite loyal even with the price increase.

MPN: What makes BritBox less vulnerable to churn (viewers jumping in and out of the subscription) than other services? 

Schildhouse: Being a highly curated streamer, serving a very passionate audience, we not only put a lot of time and effort into deciding what content to bring to BritBox, but we also listen closely to our audience. Through a combination of these efforts, we have been able to cultivate and serve a loyal subscriber base who truly feel they are getting something at BritBox they would not be able to get anywhere else. Ultimately, BritBox’s value proposition is the richness and breadth of our offering, and while we are very proud of our originals and higher profile shows, we have been very successful at keeping our subscribers engaged and happy with a regular drumbeat of new programming and an unparalleled library spanning the history of British television.  

MPN: Has the service considered adding an ad-supported tier and, if not, why? 

Schildhouse: At this time, we continue to stay fully subscriber-based, although we work closely with the BBC on BritBox Mysteries FAST channels that have been helpful in introducing the BritBox brand to viewers who may not be aware of our platform quite yet.   

MPN: What’s your strategy in marketing BritBox? 

Schildhouse: Our strategy is to attract not only fans of British content, but also open minded, curious viewers who are on the lookout for programming with great storytelling. Great storytelling is one of the key traits of British TV, and especially the kinds of programming we bring to BritBox. Our marketing is both broad and targeted to reach these viewers who are looking for that kind of experience. 

BritBox Streamer Bowing True-Crime Thriller ‘The Sixth Commandment,’ Political Drama ‘This England’ in the U.S.

The BritBox subscription streaming service is set to debut two British drama series in the U.S. later this year, including “The Sixth Commandment” based on a British criminal case, and “This England,” based on former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s (played by Kenneth Branagh) tumultuous first few months in office.

“The Sixth Commandment,” which begins Oct. 4, tells the story of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall), and a charismatic young student, Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke, Normal People), who meet and bond over their love of books and involvement with the Church of England. However, their friendship soon takes a deadly turn that comes to light after Ben turns his attention to Peter’s deeply religious neighbor, Ann Moore-Martin (Anne Reid, Last Tango in Halifax). The result is a series of stunning revelations, culminating in a high-profile trial.

“This England,” which begins in November, is a six-part series based on Johnson’s dealing with the impact on the country (and personally) of the pandemic, Brexit, and a controversial personal and political life.

“Kenneth Branagh, Timothy Spall and Anne Reid all deliver incredibly powerful performances at the heart of these two gripping dramas, and combined with their world class production pedigree, make both of these series a must-see for quality-seeking fans,” Reemah Sakaan, CEO of BritBox International, said in a statement.

Launched in 2017 in the U.S., BritBox is a subscription streaming VOD service offering British-themed television content in the U.S. and Canada. Together with BritBox International in the U.K., the two services have a combined subscriber base around 3 million.

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BritBox Bows Streaming Service on Comcast’s Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV Platforms

BritBox International June 15 announced the launch of the BritBox subscription streaming VOD app on Comcast Cable’s entertainment platforms in the United States, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV.

The launch furthers BritBox’s strategy to expand access, which has included international distribution partnerships with Amazon (North America and Australia) and Apple (North America and Australia).

Pricing will remain the same as other markets — $7.99 per month/$79.99 per year — and comes with the standard seven-day free trial and ability to cancel at any time. BritBox recently surpassed 3 million global subscribers with more than 15% global subs growth in the past year.

“BritBox is a great addition to our entertainment platforms … all seamlessly integrated in one experience alongside their other entertainment,” Sudhir Muralidhar, VP of product and platform experiences at Comcast, said in a statement.

Launched in the U.S. in 2017, BritBox offers a large collection of originals, co-productions, and other British-themed programming. Original co-production “Stonehouse” launched on the service in January, and is a dramatized limited series covering the story of disgraced Labour Minister John Stonehouse, starring the Emmy-winning Matthew Macfadyen.

Other recent series include “Karen Pirie,” starring Lauren Lyle; drama “Sherwood,” starring Lesley Manville and David Morrissey and written by James Graham; “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” produced, directed, and adapted for screen by Hugh Laurie and starring Will Poulter and Lucy Boynton; as well as “The Confessions of Frannie Langton,” another BritBox International co-production, from the award-winning novel by Sara Collins and starring Karla-Simone Spence and Sophie Cookson.

BritBox to Live-Stream 76th BAFTA Film Awards in the U.S. on Feb. 19

Subscription streaming video platform BritBox will once again live-stream the 76th BAFTA Film Awards on Feb. 19 to subscribers in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. 

The BAFTAs represent the biggest night in British film, honoring the top British and international film talent and will take place at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Richard E. Grant will host the ceremony and Alison Hammond will host a new BAFTA Studio from the Royal Festival Hall as part of an expanded show format. The red carpet will be hosted by Ali Plumb and Vick Hope.

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“At BritBox International, we showcase and celebrate incredible talent, creativity, and storytelling from the U.K., every single day, for our viewers [around the world],” Reemah Sakaan, CEO of BritBox International, said in a statement. 

Launched in the U.S. in 2017, BritBox offers a large collection of originals, co-productions, and other programming. Original co-production “Stonehouse” launched on the service this week, and is a dramatized limited series covering the extraordinary story of disgraced Labor Minister John Stonehouse, starring the Emmy-winning Matthew Macfadyen.

Other recent series include “Karen Pirie,” starring Lauren Lyle; drama “Sherwood,” starring Lesley Manville and David Morrissey; and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, produced, directed, and adapted for screen by Hugh Laurie and starring Will Poulter and Lucy Boynton. Coming soon to the service is “The Confessions of Frannie Langton,” another BritBox International co-production, from the novel by Sara Collins and starring Karla-Simone Spence and Sophie Cookson.

BritBox Names Liz Spaulding VP, Business Development, Jennifer Moon Head of Editorial and Programming Strategy for North America

BritBox International, which operates branded subscription streaming video services in North America and the U.K., Jan. 19 announced the appointment of Liz Spaulding as VP of business development, and Jennifer Moon as head of editorial and programming strategy.

Spaulding, who was most recently at Starz, and Moon, who was at AMC Networks, will both be based in New York and report to Robert Schildhouse, who joined BritBox International as EVP and GM of group marketing services this past fall. Spaulding will also be reporting into Kerry Ball, global chief acquisitions and commercial officer, who joined BritBox International in summer of 2022.

Liz Spaulding

In her new role, Spaulding will lead the charge on  growth opportunities, and partnership relations. She will be responsible for distribution and commercial partnerships.  Meanwhile, Moon will lead North American programming strategy, content acquisition and content scheduling for the BritBox North America service, which launched in in the U.S. in 2017, and Canada in 2018.

“Both Liz and Jennifer have a deep understanding of the rapidly changing streaming landscape and excellent skillsets that will help BritBox continue to evolve and be the destination that premium British content fans flock to most,” Robert Schildhouse said in a statement.

Jennifer Moon

Spaulding previously was director of distribution at Starz, where she was responsible for multi-platform content distribution and strategic partnerships with distributors in the media and entertainment industry. Before Starz, Spaulding was the first-ever New York director for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, where she managed a team producing over 500 seminars, panel discussions and educational courses annually. Earlier in her career, Spaulding also held roles at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and Tribeca Film, the film distribution arm of Tribeca Film Festival.

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Moon previously spent more than a decade at AMC, with her most recent role being director, multiplatform programming strategy. Among her responsibilities were developing revenue-driving windowing strategies for successful content distribution across a range of streaming and on-demand services as well as creating long-term operational workflow solutions for AMCN at large, including AMC+. She also worked with the team to maximize exposure for top-rated programming from AMC Networks’ suite of channels.

BritBox Co-Owner Launching New Ad-Supported Streaming Service With U.S. Movies

ITV, which co-owns SVOD platform BritBox with BBC Studios, Nov. 7 announced it is launching branded ad-supported free streaming platform ITVX on Dec. 8. The new service replaces ITV Hub as the online home of all ITV content in the U.K.

At launch, users will have access to more than 10,000 hours of content in high definition, and ITVX will also drop new and exclusive programs every week of the year, including documentaries, cult classics and hundreds of movies.

Films available at launch will include the “Back to the Future” trilogy, the “Despicable Me” trilogy, Wonder Woman and many more. The full “Fast and Furious” series of films will be launched in 2023.

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All ITV’s channels will be available to livestream through ITVX, as well as additional free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels, and a dedicated news section.

“ITVX is powered by a significant, streaming-first commissioning budget, and an integrated technology and data platform providing a more personalized viewing and advertising experience, that will continue to evolve in 2023 and beyond,” Carolyn McCall said in a statement.

ITVX’s initial original content includes six-part cold war drama, “A Spy Among Friends,” starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce, new teen drama Tell Me Everything, powerful period drama The Confessions of Frannie Langton, starring Karla-Simone Spence, Sophie Cookson and Patrick Martins, and Plebs: Soldiers of Rome, the feature-length finale to the popular comedy series.

Ex-Hulu Executive Robert Shildhouse to Lead Business Growth for BritBox in North America

BritBox International on Oct. 24 announced the appointment of Robert Schildhouse as EVP of North America and GM of Group Marketing Services.

Robert Schildhouse

He will spearhead the subscription streaming service’s business growth in the United States and Canada, and lead its centralized global marketing services. Schildhouse will report to Reemah Sakaan, CEO of BritBox International, and will be based in New York.

His appointment comes after a year of accelerated global growth for the brand, a BBC Studios and ITV joint venture that specializes in British programming. BritBox recently launched in Nordic markets, expanding on its existing presence across the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Schildhouse will lead business development, commercial relationships, programming and performance marketing for BritBox North America. He will also oversee central marketing services, across Creative Studio, Media Buying, CRM and customer services, led by BritBox International executive Nada Arnot, SVP of marketing for North America and Group Marketing Services.

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Schildhouse joined Hulu prior to its launch in 2008, progressing to become the leader of Hulu’s Content Acquisition organization. He later joined the CBS Global Distribution Group as SVP of digital licensing and distribution, where he later rose to EVP, responsible for monetizing the rights of the CBS and Showtime libraries to the streaming marketplace. Schildhouse later became EVP of business development, where he was responsible for authoring strategy to expand CBS’s global footprint. He began his career at GE Capital, where he was a graduate of GE’s financial management program.

“As we continue to drive the growth and strong momentum of our North America business, Robert will bring his proven expertise in leading innovative streaming and content businesses to our organization,” Sakaan  said. “It’s an exciting and pivotal time for BritBox, and I’m thrilled to be adding him to our passionate team, bringing the best of British to North America.”

BritBox International recently launched a robust global commissioning and co-production slate of original dramas and fan-favorite series, including “Stonehouse,” “Beyond Paradise,” “Three Little Birds,” “The Confessions of Frannie Langton” and “Archie.” BritBox North America also recently premiered the acclaimed original series “Sherwood,” with Karen Pirie.

Soumya Sriraman Pops Up as President of Streaming for QVC, HSN Parent

Two weeks after Soumya Sriraman abruptly left her position as U.S. head of Prime Video Channels at Amazon, the home entertainment veteran has a new job: president of streaming at the Qurate Retail Group, the parent company of QVC and HSN.

In the newly created role, the company said in a press release, Sriraman will lead Qurate Retail’s streaming commerce business, including the QVC+ and HSN+ streamers as well as the company’s growing live-streaming ventures.

Sriraman spent less than two years at Amazon. Previously, she was president and CEO of BritBox, a streaming service focused on British content that is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV. She joined BritBox when it launched in the United States in 2017 and oversaw its growth to more than 1.5 million subscribers. 

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Prior to BritBox, Sriraman spent more than five years with BBC Worldwide, most recently serving as EVP of franchise and digital enterprises.

Earlier, she was president and CEO of Palisades/Tartan Films, a leading independent in the glory days of DVD and Blu-ray Disc.