‘Impossible’ for BritBox to rival Netflix, says ITV chief

Dame Carolyn McCall was speaking at the Voice Of The Listener And Viewer’s autumn conference in London.

Press Association
Last updated: 20 November 2019 - 12.30pm

The chief executive of ITV has said it will be “impossible” for BritBox to rival Netflix.

Dame Carolyn McCall said BritBox would be unable to compete with the global streaming giant’s vast membership and “very deep pockets”.

The UK streaming service, a joint project by ITV and the BBC, launched in early November.

Britbox unveiling
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall (Chris Radburn/PA)

Both public service broadcasters hope BritBox will counter the dominance of US streaming giants including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Speaking at Voice Of The Listener And Viewer’s (VLV) autumn conference in London, Dame Carolyn was asked whether BritBox could rival Netflix.

She said: “It won’t. We are not trying to rival Netflix. How on Earth can we rival Netflix?

“I mean, honestly, they are a global company on one-hundred-and-something million subscribers already.

“They have very deep pockets and their shareholders are absolutely betting on their future, not on their portfolio. They are not having to make any money.”

Netflix sack head of comms
Netflix and BritBox are services that can ‘coexist’, Dame Carolyn said (Netflix/PA)

“One, it is impossible to rival that. Secondly, in the UK we are totally complementary to Netflix,” she said.

“There will be nothing really that is on Netflix that will be on BritBox and vice versa.

“Any BBC and ITV content that is on Netflix currently is coming back. It’s coming home to BritBox when it runs out of its contract.”

She added: “They are genuinely services that can coexist and they are very different things that can coexist.”

Dame Carolyn also said it was “unlikely” ITV Studios would ever make a series starring Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly for another channel, like the BBC.

Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey – London
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (Ian West/PA)

She said: “Not likely, Ant and Dec. I think they are too associated with ITV probably.

“They are free. They are not free at the moment but they are independent people. I think that is unlikely.”

Dame Carolyn was in conversation with former media journalist Torin Douglas.

The theme of the one-day conference was Public Service Broadcasting: The Threats, Challenges And Opportunities Ahead.

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