Sunday 9 June 2019 1:07 pm

BT in talks with ITV over Britbox investment


Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

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BT is reportedly in discussions over a potential multi-million-pound investment in Britbox, the joint streaming service by ITV and the BBC set to be launched later this year.

The telecoms firm has held preliminary talks with ITV about taking a stake in Britbox and helping to fund exclusive dramas produced in the UK, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Read more: ITV revenues slip ahead of Britbox launch as strain on advertising continues

The talks are at an early stage and the investment may not come to fruition, according to the report, with disagreement over the valuation of the service slated as a possible risk.

The investment would mark a significant development in a new strategy unveiled by BT boss Philip Jansen, who took over from Gavin Patterson earlier this year.

Jansen has outlined plans to frame BT as a “national champion”, and is hoping to turn around the company’s fortunes after a share price drop of roughly 50 per cent over the last three years.

The new boss has already launched the firm’s new logo and has announced BT will close 90 per cent of its offices across the UK as it looks to cut £1.5bn in costs.

The mooted investment would also align with BT’s strategy of becoming a “super aggregator”, offering customers access to a range of different streaming services through its set-top box.

BT already has a partnership with the BBC and ITV through the Youview platform, which operates on BT TV.

But it is unlikely BT would commit to any investment until the two broadcasters have agreed on the terms for their new streaming service.

Read more: Video streaming to fuel £10bn growth in UK media sector by 2023


Talks between ITV and the BBC have reportedly stalled, with the commercial broadcaster thought to be more committed to the venture than the corporation, which is also planning an overhaul of its iPlayer service.

BT and ITV have been contacted for comment.

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