ITV Buys Out BBC’s Share of BritBox U.K.

ITV has bought out BBC’s share of BritBox U.K. ahead of the launch of its new streaming service ITVX, Variety has confirmed.

ITVX will integrate BritBox U.K. although the latter best-of-British offering will remain a “separate entity” within the app and require a paid subscription.

BritBox International will remain a 50/50 joint venture between ITV and BBC.

In a call with journalists, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall confirmed that ITV had bought out the BBC’s 10% stake in BritBox U.K. for a “nominal” amount.

“We initiated [the buy-out] because ITVX is very much an ITV strategic ambition,” she said. “It’s a very important part of our over-all strategy so we initiated that. In the original shareholder agreement there was a way of dissolving that interest and the BBC have been extremely helpful and supportive. So that’s all that’s happened and we go on normal.”

When asked for further clarification of what the buy-out means for Britbox, an ITV spokesperson told Variety: “To give ITV greater control over BritBox U.K. and enable its integration into ITVX, the BBC has ceased to be a shareholder in BritBox UK. They will continue to be a strong partner for BritBox U.K. and BritBox International, and we have agreed a new long-term content supply deal with the BBC. All PSB partners are committed to BritBox U.K. which offers consumers a large library of the majority of PSB British content in one place from the past and recent past.”

More to come.

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