At the beginning of August, Reese Witherspoon sold her company, Hello Sunshine. Even in a world where film-stars-turned-brands have become 10 a penny, the Oscar winner made international headlines thanks to the jaw-dropping sale price – reportedly $900m. Witherspoon said she was “thrilled to be working with Blackstone, Kevin, and Tom to grow a next-generation media company”.
Public service broadcasters have a “fleetingly short space of time” to find a better financing model – and without guaranteed prominence on smart TVs, “PSB is dead, it is over”. These were just two of the stark warnings aired at an RTS panel discussion “Small beer or big deal: Should we still care about PSB?”.
After years of refusal by the global streaming companies to share their viewing data, new light will soon be shed on the performance of Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ – and PSB streaming services such as All 4 and BBC iPlayer – by the industry ratings body Barb.
From the late summer, Barb expects to publish regular viewing figures for SVoD services on the same basis as those for broadcast television. This will allow meaningful comparisons to be made for the first time.
When Disney announced that its eagerly awaited streaming service, Disney+, would launch in the UK and Western Europe in March no one knew that the service’s debut would coincide with a global pandemic keeping millions of people at home.
“With much of the UK looking for entertainment while they are stuck at home, Disney+ is likely to be a big hit,” said Shiv Pabari, director of media and entertainment at Simon-Kucher & Partners. “Families, in particular, will be excited by the content offered.”
The new streaming service offers content from ITV, the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
BritBox, created by ITV and the BBC, marks the UK’s entry into the paid streaming market alongside international giants such as Netflix and Amazon.
Priced at £5.99 per month, BritBox will offer the biggest collection of British boxsets such as Broadchurch, Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacey, Wolf Hall and Downton Abbey.