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BritBox - The market for British TV shows on US SVoD

British broadcasters ITV and the BBC have announced a joint on-demand subscription VoD service in the USA, BritBox, to be made available from the first quarter of 2017.

Looking at data from Ampere's Analytics service, a couple of immediate opportunities are available for the new platform. British content is already an important part of existing US SVoD content libraries, and there is a sizeable content gap between the 212 shows currently available on major SVoD services in the US and the 385 shows available worldwide on SVoD. There is therefore already large swathes of content available which has proven successful on SVoD, but which is yet to reach the USA. This "missing" content profiles in several ways: firstly, older content is generally less available, with the sweet spot for shows in the past 5-10 years; secondly, the majority of the content focuses on scripted Drama, Documentaries and Comedy, with other genres such as Entertainment, Crime and Reality largely unavailable; and finally, the high-value, first window content can often be unavailable for up to a year in the US, with 2016-produced shows making up less than 4% of the total.

Early indications for the new service seem to back this up, with mooted components including a "classics" section for older content, and a "now" section for next day soaps and series. Such an approach can pay dividends - specialist US SVoD service Acorn TV has already racked up nearly 400 thousand subscribers on the strength of a catalogue predominantly centered around UK and Canadian-produced TV content.