How Older Women, an Oft-Forgetten Demo, Are Leading the Charge on Boutique Streaming Service Britbox

IndieWire | 4/5/2018 | Staff
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You think streaming television, you think hip millennials giving the middle finger to cable services. You think British television, you think retirement-aged women, sipping tea while watching period dramas while wearing a lot of very interesting hats.

And yet, several streaming services find themselves battling it out by combining the two concepts. BritBox, owned by British networks BBC Worldwide and ITV, launched last year in a crowded landscape that also includes companies like Acorn, Walter Presents and others focused on international titles.

Streaming - Landscape - Services - Enthusiast - Audiences

Entering an already-crowded streaming landscape, those digital services have opted to go after narrower enthusiast audiences rather than try to compete with the monolith that is Netflix. Niche comes with its own challenges, however, as evidenced by attempts like Seeso (a NBC Universal service aimed at young comedy fans), which shut down after failing to attract a large enough subscriber base.

But Seeso targeted a young audience that probably already spends quite a bit of money on streaming platforms and wasn’t looking to spend any more. BritBox’s base is still low, at a reported 250,000 subscribers, but the company has found a way to grow by tapping into a previously underserved streaming audience — revealing to IndieWire that more than one third of its customers are women over the age of 55.

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Alan Davies films a scene for “Jonathan Creek.”

While there’s plenty of exclusive programming featuring women of a certain age on the platform — shows like the Brenda Blethyn-starring “Vera” or family dramedy “Mum” — BritBox president Soumya Sriraman said other shows that have done “incredibly well” for the service include the mystery drama “Jonathan Creek,” starring Alan Davies. Sriraman said she was surprised at that show’s performance because “I thought it was a very specific British-centric sort of show.” In addition, the long-running sci-fi comedy “Red Dwarf” boasts “a very...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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