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We could soon see a UK rival to streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Terrestrial broadcasters the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have held talks about potentially joining forces and launching a UK streaming service.

The talks are in the early stages, so we're a way off seeing a launch. But they're also said to involve NBC Universal, the US owner of the maker of Downton Abbey.

So how would it work? And what content would it offer? One insider said all options are currently on the table.

"All options are open, they are early conversations and no direction is firm yet," a source with knowledge of the talks told The Guardian. "But they know a video-on-demand platform play would be a true defence for the UK creative industries."

The BBC has had huge success with its iPlayer service, but it recently revealed that 16-24-year-olds spend more time watching Netflix than they do watching the BBC, including live TV and iPlayer.

Netflix and Amazon have immense funds to plough into original content. Netflix alone is spending $8 billion on original films and TV series this year.

The same broadcasters held similar talks two years ago, but that only resulted in Britbox, a UK-focussed streaming service that launched in the US.

The firms previously worked together on Project Kangaroo, a video-on-demand service that was due to launch in 2007. However, it was blocked by regulators, paving the way for Netflix and Amazon to dominate the UK streaming market.

The source described the service as "Kangaroo-plus. Sort of a public service broadcaster domestic competitor to Netflix, but potentially with the flexibility to be broader than that."


The Guardian

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