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British TV giants to launch US streaming service next year

The Netflix-like BritBox service will feature current shows 24 hours after UK broadcast, as well as classic programming.

"EastEnders" is a hit soap in the UK -- and the other side of the Atlantic too.
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Americans who fancy access to the British TV soap "EastEnders" rejoice!

British broadcasting giants BBC Worldwide and ITV announced a partnership on Tuesday to launch a Netflix-like streaming video service called BritBox in the US next year. The ad-free service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017 on the web as well as Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast.

"Britain produces some of the best television in the world and we're delighted to be bringing the creative might of the BBC and ITV together for the first time in this exciting new streaming service for US fans," ITV executive Simon Pitts said in a statement.

British programs such as "Downton Abbey" have proved immensely popular with US audiences when shown on PBS. But fans aren't too keen with the months-long delay typical with getting the shows on US TV.

To address that, the service will make current programs such as "EastEnders" and "Emmerdale" available for viewing as soon as 24 hours after their UK broadcast. It will also showcase classic British programming such as "Brideshead Revisited," "Pride and Prejudice," "Upstairs Downstairs," "Fawlty Towers" and "Keeping Up Appearances."

The venture plans to take its service international eventually. Subscription pricing was not revealed.