In The Frame – February ’19
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In The Frame February ’19

Streaming / Online / Tech

The big news this month is of BritBox, a new streaming service for UK audiences, established by the BBC and ITV. Both organisations are delighted with the success of BritBox in North America, which has more than half a million subscribers.

Demand for streaming services in the UK is growing: more than 12 million UK households subscribe to at least one SVOD service, and four million homes have more than one subscription. Forty-three per cent of all online homes are interested in subscribing to a new SVOD service that features British content so BBC and ITV aim to launch BritBox in the second half of 2019. Pricing is yet to be confirmed. Project Kangaroo, a VOD service from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, was deemed by the Competition Commission in 2009 to be too much of a threat to competition in the UK video-on-demand market the project was blocked after two years of wrangling.

BT Sport has released an app that enables 4K HDR viewing of its content on a wide range of devices, including via Apple TV, Samsung TVs and the Xbox.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, meanwhile, have installed a new camera set-up in their stadiums, enabling replays from any angle and from the perspective of any player on the pitch, and trials have taken place in Danish and Dutch football stadiums to show data-driven player graphics on LED perimeter boards.

BBC News

Darren Childs is to leave his position as CEO of UKTV, which is jointly owned by BBC Studios and Discovery, as the BBC prepares to take full control of Britain’s biggest multichannel broadcaster in a deal that was predicted to accelerate “plans to build a British streaming rival to Netflix”. During his eight-year tenure, Childs has driven a 66 per cent increase in revenues and nearly tripled profits, and this deal is believed to have helped create the opportunity for BritBox.

The BBC was pleased with the performance of BBC Scotland, the new £32m channel, on its opening night, boasting five out of the top ten most-watched programmes across all channels in Scotland. “We’re delighted that viewers have come to us in such significant numbers for our opening night’s schedule,” Steve Carson, Head of Multi-platform Commissioning BBC Scotland, said, adding. “We appreciate that ratings will settle down over time but we are encouraged by the very positive audience feedback that we’ve had for our first night.”

BBC World Service English has launched a new app for low-cost news access. The ‘Call to listen’ function offers access to BBC World Service in areas where mobile data is expensive or unavailable.

The BAFTAs drew an average audience of 3.5 million viewers when it aired on BBC One. The number was down by half a million compared to 2018’s ceremony. One reason cited for the drop was the broadcast’s delay, meaning many viewers knew results before they were shown on TV.

And finally…

  • Bohemian Rhapsody is the UK’s fastest-selling digital download movie of all time, selling nearly 265,000 digital copies in its first eight days.
  • The creators of The Inbetweeners, Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, are teaming up again on Afternoons, a BBC2 comedy about the misadventures of three young footballers who play for a fictional Premier League side.
  • The BBC is bringing back the children’s TV show, Crackerjack – a staple of children’s TV from 1955-1984. It’ll be available on will be on CBBC and the iPlayer.
  • A £500m expansion of Shepperton Studios has been approved by the local council by a majority of one vote following numerous objections from residents.
  • ITV4 has brought La Liga to free-to-air TV, with weekly matches to be shown until the end of the season.
  • Bournemouth-based visual effects facility Outpost VFX has introduced an uncapped holiday allowance for its employees. Bectu says VFX professionals are leaving the industry because of bad employment practice, often as a result of VFX studios being financially squeezed by production companies.
  • Eurosport is making full-length adverts skippable on its free digital platform Eurosport.com and the Eurosport app (but not Eurosport Player), giving visitors the opportunity to skip pre-roll ads on free content after six seconds.
  • Ofcom’s new code of practice, Fairness for Customers, comes into effect on 1 March, ensuring broadband customers will be told how fast their new service will be before they sign a contract.

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