As I continue our look at streaming video on demand services and how they fared with classic TV in 2020, I am going to examine one of the best hits of 2020:
Britbox: It was a great year for this relatively under-the-radar service. I get the impression it has realistic expectations and is happy with solid performance and will therefore remain on its current path. In 2020 it continued to add content month by month. For a while there, it seemed to be focusing more on current shows and originals, but in the last quarter of the year or so, it came through with hundreds of hours of stuff that's not only 20th century, but pre-1980.
It added scores of miniseries and TV movies as part of its costume drama campaign, but more exciting to me was the huge Britcom drop in November. I'm not talking about PBS staples like Are You Being Served and Keeping Up Appearances, but you know what? Those were already available. Dad's Army, Good Neighbors, Rising Damp, and The New Statesman were among the additions. Seriies like Yes, Minister were added earlier in 2020.
At launch, BritBox was a little light on classic comedy, and it bolstered its selection big time in 2020. Emphasizing comedies and older shows in general is a good way to distinguish itself from Acorn, which focuses more on mysteries and some select originals but has nowhere near the library of Britbox.
Most pleasant surprise: The sheer volume of the catalog drops in Fall 2020. The Play for Today collection in October alone provided 30 new installments of the prestigious BBC anthology.
Biggest disappointment: The "continue watching" is still iffy. I'm still waiting for Drop the Dead Donkey. Blake's 7 is on the UK BritBox but not here. I feel like I'm nitpicking, though.
Grade: A. One of the most odious concepts emphasized by AT&T in 2020 is the "rotating content" philosophy. It's also appalling that so many consumers seem to accept it. Britbox is the one major streamer that keeps adding content each month without losing significant amounts of it. As a result, it is now one of the best values out there.