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Published on July 27th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


ITV to pull Netflix content on hints of a future UK streaming service

With the success of Britbox in the U.S. and Canada on Apple TV, British broadcaster ITV is preparing to pull its library of content from Netflix in Great Britain only and possibly launch in the U.K a joint subscription streaming venture with the BBC and Channel 4.

ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall confirmed Tuesday that the broadcaster is ready to remove its archive from the streaming giant over the coming years. Programs produced by ITV Studios that might disappear over time from Netflix in Great Britain could include Unforgotten, Happy Valley, Marcella and Endeavour to name just a few of many.

Although she would not confirm or deny ITV is working on creating a domestic streaming service around much of that content, she all but hinted such a product is in the offing. McCall said one goal of ITV will be focusing its future on creating a direct-to-consumer business with a $78.6 million investment over the next three years.

“If we are developing (a) subscription (service) we have to develop it effectively,” she said. “We have said we have an intent to do something in that space because we think it’s an opportunity and our research indicates there is demand for that distinctive, unique British content that consumers are willing to pay for.”

McCall would not discuss ITV’s current relationship with Netflix, nor would she confirm reports from various sources that the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are in “early conversations” about being part of a possible new streaming service. The talks are also thought to involve NBC Universal, the U.S. TV and film group that made Downton Abbey.

The BBC, AMC and ITV already operate the BritBox streaming service in North America. Sources say one possibility is expanding the existing BritBox service into the U.K. market and turning it into a subscription on-demand service. 

It’s not out of the question that certain content from ITV streaming on Netflix in the U.S. could also be removed and moved to the American Britbox service to improve its offerings.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.

2 Responses to ITV to pull Netflix content on hints of a future UK streaming service

  1. Mike says:

    This segregation of British creative work and media from, the rest of the world, is just ridiculous. It is almost a kind of “Trump” version of business but applied to media and entertainment. A kind of private entertainment tariff. You can only get it via these apps we ourselves make and charge you for. The BBC being the worst.

    In the U.S. the only network that does this, and not for all shows, is CBS. They too have engaged in similar practices in contrast to Fox/Nat Geo apps which are pretty much wide open the minute a show airs over the air.

    This method of walling in your own app and charging for it monthly makes sense for special stuff, like apps/channels for mega yacht owners, horse fanciers, mansions for sale, or end of the world preppers. But not for popular entertainment and popular sports.

    I watch all kinds of international programming from all over the world on AppleTV in the U.S. via a variety of sources. But it is uniquely a kind of British media network propensity to separate or restrict what and how anyone anywhere can watch a show. I really enjoyed Happy Valley (I can’t wait for season 3!) on Netflix. If I have to pay to watch it on some ridiculous ITV app or Acorn or Britbox, forget it. I can wait 1-5 years and catch it for free on PBS or Amazon or, never. I did this with the original Swedish/Danish version of The Bridge. It never showed up on Netflix or Amazon. The two popular apps for shows in the U.S.
    Until I had Hulu for a few months cheap with Spotify. Then I binged it for a month. Why is that just on Hulu? Who the hell knows. But it was terrific and the best of all three that were made by far (The Bridge — Mexico/US version, The Tunnel — UK/French version).

    British drama is often terrific but it is not THAT special… :-(

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