US Streaming services like Netflix are kicking butt and taking names not only in the states, but across the globe. However, not everyone is happy about the dominance of US streaming companies, especially UK broadcasters BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. After watching their viewer’s attention shift towards Netflix (which has 8 million subs in the country) and Amazon (4 million subs), the broadcasters are in talks of teaming up to launch a streaming service.
“All options are open, they are early conversations and no direction is firm yet,” one source with knowledge of the talks told The Guardian, which first reported on the news. “But they know a video-on-demand platform play would be a true defence for the UK creative industries.” A second source described it as a “public service broadcaster domestic competitor to Netflix.”
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The talks also included the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios. BCC has been adamant about pushing iPlayer as the master brand, which has met resistance from Channel 4 and ITV, which have been driving their services, All 4 and ITV Hub, with increasing success with viewers.
The news comes almost ten years after Project Kangaroo, a planned VOD service between the broadcasters that was blocked by the British Competition Commission. But with US streaming services now dominating the the UK market, the time to join forces has never been more necessary for the companies.
“My understanding is that it is a bit of a dusting off of Kangaroo, which was a good idea that should never have been blocked. Look at where the market is now,” the second source said. “Think of it as Kangaroo-plus. Sort of a public service broadcaster domestic competitor to Netflix, but potentially with the flexibility to be broader than that.”