Several sources are claiming that both Hulu (owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and now Disney) and YouTube (owned by Google) are talking separate deals with UK broadcasters the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV to allow their shows to be on demand on their respective websites.
According to the Telegraph, “Hulu is proposing to launch this September with 3,000 hours of American content, as well as material from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. It will be playing catch-up in the short-term until it has enough British TV content and will need a unique selling point in the short term,” one source said.
However, the deal is said to follow a similar plan with the United States version – but a senior executive close to Channel 4 and ITV are said to not consent as they want to retain their rights on selling advertising on the programs and keep their commercial rights.
Also rumoured, CBS-acquired TV.com is said to be talking to the broadcasters. All three services have a majority of their content that is accessible in America, and in rare cases will make their content for the world. YouTube, however, has several content made by US stations that is allowed to be viewed by anyone outside of the US.
The BBC, Channel 4 and ITV were all part of “Project Kangaroo” – a similar idea to Hulu for the UK, before that got terminated by the corporate watchdog earlier this year. All three do have their own services offering programming catch-ups, with the BBC also offering radio content on its BBC iPlayer.
However, a deal with YouTube with either Channel 4 or ITV would not be mutually exclusive, allowing content from both parties to be broadcast on their service, and on YouTube. As of current, YouTube has programming clips from ITV and Channel 4, along with the BBC – who has several channels, including BBC World News, BBC Worldwide and Top Gear.
The BBC, under BBC Worldwide, is also offering its programming for sale on iTunes, along with ITV and Channel 4’s lineup of channels.