Regulator Ofcom has given the thumbs up for the BBC’s investment in Britbox – a new streaming service to rival the likes of Netflix.
The regulator said that there is no “significant risk” that Britbox, a collaboration with ITV, will distort the market and create an unfair advantage.
“The BBC’s involvement in BritBox does not, therefore, give rise to a material change to its commercial activities,” it said.
Ofcom said it already has rules which separate the BBC’s public service and commercial work, but it will “closely monitor” the BBC’s plans and step in if it finds any concerns.
The new service, which will be offered to customers for £5.99 a month, comes as streaming giants such as Netflix, and Amazon Prime, eat into the space occupied by the traditional broadcasters.
ITV and the BBC hope that Britbox’s offering, including Love Island and Broadchurch, will help them win back customers who want content on demand.
The BBC was last month accused of “pulling a fast one” on independent production companies over its proposals that would make it easier for Britbox to buy the rights to shows than its rivals.
Producers would be allowed to sell their programmes to streaming services after 12 months, but with conditions that would give Britbox an advantage. The conditions would only be removed after 18 months, giving the BBC and ITV a six-month head start.
“It appears that the BBC is pulling a fast one as there is no guarantee that better phasing of content between linear, broadcaster video on-demand services and Britbox will help content retain its value,” Teresa Potocka, from Sensethefuture Pictures, told City A.M.