BBC is entering the wildly competitive North American streaming game on its own terms. This week, the company launched BBC Select, an ad-free, subscription-based streaming service powered by original and North American-exclusive content. The service will cost $4.99 per month in the U.S. ($6.99 in Canada), after a 7-Day Free Trial, and is available on Amazon Prime Video Channels and the Apple TV app.
The service is not to be confused with BritBox, which is a joint-venture with ITV, which brings British scripted content, while BBC Select offers non-fiction.
BBC Select’s content offerings will run the gamut, from culture all the way to politics. The service will also carry exclusive premieres for audiences in the U.S. and Canada. This sort of programming is similar to BBC Four’s mix of the arts with a dash of political flair. As part of the platform’s launch, BBC Select brought on Channel Four program Grayson Perry’s Big American Roadtrip, starring British artist Grayson Perry.
“As we shift our business focus to engaging our fans direct, the digital space offers us the opportunity to bring audiences a portfolio of shows that bring new ideas and perspectives into the conversation,” said Rebecca Glashow, president of BBC Studios — Americas. “Our research has shown that audiences are looking for an alternative to what is already out there. BBC Select is it.”
North American-exclusive shows include Shock of the Nude, hosted by professor of classics Mary Beard; Reggie Yates in China starring actor, DJ, and presenter Reggie Yates; In Search of Frida Kahlo which follows musician Emeli Sandé —who was inspired by the paintings of Kahlo when writing her album; Fall of an Icon which explores the life of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi; Mystery of the Missing Princess which tells the story of Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler; Putin – A Russian Spy Story which assesses the Russian president’s rule; and The Last Igloo which follows a lone Inuit as he hunts, fishes, and constructs an igloo.
Future greenlit projects will feature Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, public intellectual Malcolm Gladwell, Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, American writer Roxane Gay, author Lionel Shriver and British journalist Caitlin Moran.