With the likes of Netflix and Amazon pumping so much money into original programming, rather than relying on stuff that debuted on TV first, you can be damn certain that TV networks are worried. So far the answer seems to be to enter the streaming business for themselves, and now BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are said to be in talks to develop a British-based service to fight back against the popularity of Netflix et al.
The three networks are said to also be including NBC Universal in the early stage talks, with one source telling The Guardian, "All options are open, they are early conversations and no direction is firm yet. " Adding, "but they know a video-on-demand platform play would be a true defence for the UK creative industries.” Another source told the paper that the ultimate goal was a “public service broadcaster domestic competitor to Netflix.”
This wouldn't be the first time British networks have joined forces to create a streaming service. The BBC and ITV have joined forces to develop BritBox, which streams British programming to audiences in the USA, in exchange for a $7-a-month subscription. The three of them also attempted to launch a joint service back in 2007, subbed 'Project Kangaroo', but everything got caught up in the bureaucracy and the service never materialised. The BBC has also redesigned iPlayer in recent years to behave more like Netflix, given the service's popularity amongst young adult audiences.
It's key to emphasise that these are very early talks, and it's not clear whether anything will actually come of them, but it's nice to see that they're trying to adapt to the changing viewing behaviours of modern audiences. Hopefully this won't end up skipping the UK, like BritBox, either. [The Guardian]