The number of subscribers to BritBox has hit 500,000, the streaming service said Thursday. The platform, launched as a collaboration between BBC Studios and ITV, is designed to offer U.S. and Canadian viewers the best of recent and classic British television content.
The streaming service launched in the U.S. in March 2017 with a host of the latest British dramas and soaps, as well as classic comedy titles such as “Fawlty Towers,” “The Office,” “Gavin & Stacey” and “Absolutely Fabulous.” The service’s Canadian launch followed in February 2018.
Content and subscribers have grown rapidly, with BritBox leveraging programming including simulcast events, such as the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry last May, and new star-led programming like “Hold the Sunset,” which marked “Fawlty Towers” and Monty Python star John Cleese’s first leading role in a British sitcom in nearly 40 years. BritBox is now home to the largest collection of British streaming content in both the U.S. and Canada.
“We knew that our special sauce of combining our ‘Now’ feature of near-live television with the best British TV programming would make this a must-have service,” said BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. “British content is as popular as ever, and we are doubling down by making amazing series accessible while continuing to build our ever-growing community around desirable content.”
The service has been home to exclusive North American premieres of latest seasons of popular crime dramas “Vera,” starring Oscar-nominee Brenda Blethyn, and “Maigret,” starring Rowan Atkinson, as well as sitcoms including Ben Elton’s “Upstart Crow” and “Bliss.” Many series, including top-rated British soap operas “Eastenders” and “Coronation Street,” are available for North American subscribers within hours of their U.K. broadcast.
Last July, BritBox aired its first original commission, crime drama “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.”
Ann Sarnoff, president of BBC Studios – Americas and the board chair of BritBox, said the service was proud to have reached the half-million-subscribers milestone so quickly. “Our continued commitment to content investment will mean even more great programming to engage the fans going forward,” said Sarnoff.
AMC Networks is a minor investor in the service.