At nearly 100 years old, the British Broadcasting Company is not only the world’s oldest broadcaster, but it’s one of the most renowned. BBC’s news and entertainment programming is watched around the globe and continues to have a loyal following. With the bulk of major TV networks launching their own streaming services over the last couple years, the time is ripe for expansion – BBC is aiming to build upon its streaming success with iPlayer by launching a new platform specifically for the North American market, BBC Select.
This new streaming platform will spotlight many of BBC’s shows for the US and Canadian crowd. BBC Select is currently available on Amazon Prime Video Channels and the Apple TV app, and priced at $4.99 a month in the US and C$6.99 in Canada. It’s the latest in a string of international offerings from BBC Studios that includes BBC Earth, BBC Brit, and BBC First. BBC Studios also operates a joint venture with ITV called BrtiBox, which currently has 1.5 million subscribers.
While many of BBC Select’s shows will be rebroadcast from BBC Four in the UK, the streaming service will have its own exclusives and also work with third-party producers, according to Variety. Jon Farrar, global VOD director for BBC Studios, said that BBC Select is taking inspiration from publications like The Atlantic, New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, which “offer the long view on the things that really matter to people’s lives, and get under the skin of the big things that define our age.”
British or British-themed productions have long had a special place in North American hearts. One look at Netflix and two of its most popular shows, The Crown and Bridgerton, shows just how much this kind of content continues to resonate. In fact, the latter was seen in over 82 million homes globally, smashing Netflix viewership records to become the platform’s biggest series to date. BBC Select seems well poised to build on the audience established by BBC America, which Interpret’s New Media Measure® indicates is most concentrated among Gen X viewers (37% are ages 40-55).