by 👨💻 Adam Yardley
The UK has certainly been through something of a rigmarole this past year or so – if focus hasn’t been on their leadership and their election crises, it’s been on the ever-looming ‘monster’ that is Brexit. Thankfully, there’s more positive news emerging from the British Isles lately which suggest that the way British viewers watch TV and movies at home could be about to change for good – though it seems this is the result of a number of big TV channels changing hands.
Streaming has eaten into network TV and traditional ‘cable’ massively on a global scale – it’s led Netflix to new heights and an incredible stock market valuation – and as a result, there’s never been more competition on the home video on demand scene. With Amazon providing worthy competition for Netflix alongside Hulu and others in the US, the UK has yet to emerge with their own staple. BBC iPlayer, for the most part, has satisfied plenty of viewers on a catch-up basis – but it seems that plans coming into play with the BBC could result in a whole new British streaming platform in the very near future.
It’s discussions between Discovery, based in the US, and the BBC which may lead to the splitting up of a line of channels run by UKTV. These channels include the likes of Dave, Gold and Yesterday – and it’s a 10-channel array which is currently owned by both the BBC and Discovery. The BBC is keen to take over UKTV altogether – and it’s thought that the channels could hold the key to the major ‘terrestrial’ players in British network TV to come together and offer a form of streaming service. Alleged plans, reportedly involving the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, could result in a streaming superpower to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon in due course.
The breakup cost will come to over £1 billion, reportedly, which means that the BBC could well be going away with archive rights to many of its classic shows as well as the ability to push ahead with setting up a streaming network with other broadcasters. It’s thought that a BBC-Discovery deal is very close to being finalized – which, once it’s underway, could mean big changes indeed for British TV viewers. Let’s see what comes of this deal – a rival for Netflix or otherwise!