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ITV, BBC agree on streaming venture to take on Netflix

BloombergLONDON (Bloomberg) — ITV Plc and the British Broadcasting Corp. reached an agreement on a U.K. streaming venture, as they seek to respond to the incursion from digital rivals including Netflix Inc.

The BritBox service will launch in the final three months of 2019 and cost £5.99 ($7.50) a month for high-definition programming on multiple televisions and devices, the companies said in a statement on Friday after months of discussions. That’s cheaper than Netflix’s £8.99 subscription fee for its standard service in the U.K.

BritBox is part of ITV Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall’s push to diversify revenue away from traditional TV, as consumers seek to watch content whenever they want and advertisers increasingly direct more spending online. Shares of ITV, the country’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, were up 1.3 percent as of 9:02 a.m. in London.

“After several delays, confirmation of launch is good news,” Conor O’Shea, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux, wrote in a note. There is a market for local content to complement Netflix’s offering, but it’s too early to judge whether the quality of the content will win over U.K. consumers with multiple subscription alternatives, O’Shea wrote.

European broadcasters are increasingly coming together to pursue streaming to try to gain scale and share the cost of new platforms as they respond to U.S. rivals Netflix and Amazon.com Inc. moving into local markets.Speech

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