BritBox to Offer Near-Simulcasts, "BritMas" Content for Holiday Season
"U.K. television has a rich tradition of celebrating the holidays in a big way," said Soumya Sriraman, president of the BBC Worldwide and ITV subscription VOD service.
BritBox, the subscription VOD service launched in the U.S. earlier this year by BBC Worldwide and ITV, will offer special holiday season content under the banner "BritMas" and provide its first near-simulcast programming, including the Queen's traditional Christmas speech.
BritBox, also backed by AMC Networks, which has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for cable channel BBC America, launched with the promise of providing "the most comprehensive collection of British television, across all genres, available anywhere in the U.S." with thousands of hours of programming at launch, the majority of it exclusive.
In December, it will provide near-simulcasts — meaning almost-live airings with only slight transmission delays similar to online streaming of live awards shows or sporting events — of The Queen's Message on Christmas Day and Carols From Kings on Christmas Eve as part of its inaugural BritMas lineup.
Offering 100-plus holiday-themed specials and events, it promises to give U.S. viewers "THE authentic British holiday TV experience." BritMas programming will include holiday-season episodes from comedies, soap operas and period dramas, such as The Office, Only Fools & Horses, Sherlock Holmes and Upstairs Downstairs, along with modern favorites such as Mum, Inside No. 9 and QI.
BritMas also will include lifestyle programming, such as Nigella Lawson's Nigellissima and the U.S. streaming premieres of British classics Last of the Summer Wine and To the Manor Born.
BritMas kicks off Dec. 1 with an event called "The Dickens Dossier," featuring the BritBox premiere of the drama Dickensian, starring Stephen Rae (War and Peace), which is set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ novels A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.
"U.K. television has a rich tradition of celebrating the holidays in a big way, and now you can get the authentic British experience right in your own home without the travel — you just join us for our BritMas extravaganza," said BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. "BritBox is the ultimate streaming destination for lovers of British TV. We are giving our audience 100-plus shows in December, and we have the largest offering of British premieres, near simulcast, and classic British holiday specials anywhere in the U.S."
BritBox launched with a monthly price of $6.99.