BritBox International Restructures, Targets U.S. Growth & Steers Clear Of Transatlantic Puddings

BritBox International, the streamer run by the BBC and ITV, has restructured, talked up U.S. growth and communicated its desire to avoid “transatlantic puddings” to a room of some of the UK’s most successful drama producers.

The streamer, which is behind the likes of Hugh Laurie-starring Agatha Christie adaptation Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, has hired NBCUniversal and Discovery alum Kerry Ball in the newly-created post of Chief Acquisitions & Commercial Officer, while moving to a two-region structure: BBI North America (covering the U.S. and Canada) and BBI International Markets (covering Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland and future new markets).

Meanwhile, BritBox’s Moira Hogan has been promoted to EVP International Markets & General Manager APAC and Neale Dennett is upped to SVP International Markets & General Manager EMEA. An EVP North America & General Manager Group Marketing Services will join soon.

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Reporting to CEO Reemah Sakaan, Ball, who has worked across content and technology for two decades, will be responsible for group content acquisition and commercial strategy across all regions, a number of which are relatively new additions.

The two-region structure, meanwhile, will deliver on “ambitious market expansion goals,” according to the streamer, “securing our position as the world leader in British streaming.”

These weighty proclamations were delivered at a swanky London showcase this morning along with a ream of new content by Sakaan and Chief Creative Officer Diederick Santer, with the likes of seasoned It’s a Sin exec Nicola Shindler and Sherlock producer Sue Vertue watching from the wings.

Speaking to Deadline afterwards, Sakaan said there is “lots of headroom for growth” in the U.S., as the platform looks to add to its 2.6M global subs.

“Compared to the shades of similar competition that’s hotting up, we’re distinct and complementary and we know there are lots of people out there who have never heard of us,” she added. “We need to introduce ourselves to this swathe of people and then open up the aperture. The engine only works if the U.S. works so this whole multi-market model has to have that at the heart of it and it will always be there.”

BritBox doesn’t release subs targets but Sakaan said the streamer was five times ahead of target within one year of 2017 launch.

“Transatlantic Puddings”

Santer delivered a commissioning brief to the dozens of drama producers who made the journey, stating “we’re not into Transatlantic puddings.”

He said shows must be British at heart although the team is open to pitches from U.S. producers and can be “dramatic with the edges cut off in order to make them work everywhere.”

BritBox is looking to commission and co-produce around 12 mystery and 12 crime shows per year along with a “handful” of gamechangers such as ITV Lenny Henry drama Three Little Birds.

Another “surprising spin-off of a much-loved British classic” is in development as the streamer looks to target new, younger audiences, and generate more co-viewing.

“We recognize we have to compete to get the talent we want and are not in the market for shows that cost £5M ($6.1M), £6M ($7.3M), £7M ($8.5M),” added Santer. “Our audiences enjoy the authenticity and reliability of British programing and the shows we invest in tend to reflect that rather than requiring mega-budget world building.”

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