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Friday, January 27, 2023

BritBox International Triples Programming Spend, Doubles Marketing Outlay, Restructures Management – Variety

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By Naman Ramachandran
BritBox International, the British content specialist streamer operated by U.K. broadcasters BBC and ITV, has big growth plans.
While unveiling their new slate at an event in London on Wednesday, BritBox CEO Reemah Sakaan and CCO Diederick Santer revealed that the streamer’s spend on programming, via commissions, co-productions and acquisitions, has trebled and that the marketing budget has doubled. At the core of BritBox programming is mystery shows and the aim is to add a dozen of them every year and a further dozen in what the executives describe as the “crime and beyond” genre. The numbers are not set in stone.
“It’s a roadmap rather than a straitjacket,” Santer told Variety. “There’s plenty else going on, with different kinds of titles across different genres.”

While the executives declined to put a financial value to the enhanced programming spend, Sakaan said that the streamer has been able to work to a “really good level” on acquired programming. “The difference between a major acquisition and even a co-production, the tariffs aren’t wildly different anymore,” Sakaan told Variety. “We’ve started from that base, but have now got significant headroom to be able to increase the frequency, as well as some growth in terms of the tariffs themselves. We will use both sides of that to be able to make budgets work. Either we’ll do slightly fewer than 12 to nine and be a bit bigger, we stretch those a little bit further out – it really depends on what we see.”

BritBox International was launched in the U.S. in 2017 and since then has expanded to Canada, Australia and South Africa, with its most recent launch being in April across the Nordics. BritBox U.K. is being integrated into ITV’s upcoming streamer ITVX.
“What we’re looking at now is a really broad shortlist of next wave markets and they are very geographically dispersed,” Sakaan said.
With the international growth in mind, BritBox International, which has 2.6 million subscribers, is moving to a two-region structure – North America (covering the U.S. and Canada) and international markets (covering Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland and future new markets), creating new regional leadership roles, all reporting into Sakaan.
Former NBCUniversal executive Kerry Ball joins BritBox International in the newly created role of chief acquisitions and commercial officer, responsible for group content acquisition and commercial strategy across regions and based out of London.
Moira Hogan has been upped to executive VP international markets and general manager APAC with overarching accountability for all international market territories, excluding North America. Hogan previously served as country manager for BritBox Australia. New markets launch director Neale Dennett, who instrumental in the launch of the service in Australia, South Africa and the Nordics, has been upped to senior VP international markets and general manager EMEA. Dennett will partner with Hogan on growth in all international markets.

An appointment to the role of executive VP North America and general manager group marketing services will be revealed soon. As well as managing the U.S., BritBox’s largest market, this role will oversee BritBox in Canada as well as managing the group-wide teams for creative, media buying and customer services and relationships.
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