Insight

Will we see a Netflix rival in the UK this year?

By Charlie Knight |

The technology sector seems hotter than ever right now, especially in broadcasting, with massive upheavals in the world of traditional media. Content platforms like Netflix have used technology to revolutionise the way people watch TV and films, but now there are several reports that the old-school giants of British media are finally beginning to catch up. So, when are we likely to see the start-up of a new ‘Brit-flix’?

A British streaming service

Not content to let multi-billion pound corporations such as Netflix and Amazon rule the streaming world forever, the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are now preparing to unite their support behind a new project. With American broadcaster NBC Universal also backing a UK platform, the willpower and money may finally be in place to create a domestic public service rival to Netflix/ Amazon Prime Video.

Since 2012, both US streaming services have taken a massive share of the UK market, gaining millions of new subscribers for both Netflix (8.2 M) and Amazon (4.3M). With the surge in on-demand viewing, British broadcasters risk being completely eclipsed if current trends continue...

Past trouble

Yet since no broadcaster is big enough on its own to match the size and deep pockets of Netflix/ Amazon, a successful attempt requires all UK providers to work in conjunction. But getting historic rivals to cooperate is never easy. After all, similar efforts have already failed – the BBC and ITV launched ‘Britbox’ in the USA, intended as a direct rival to Netflix, but Channel 4 failed to support the digital service and it never received a British debut. Nevertheless, all broadcasters did cooperate in 2007 on ‘Kangaroo’, a digital on-demand service that was ultimately blocked by the competition regulator. Kangaroo planned to involve the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 combining forces to offer a mixture of free, subscription-based, and advertiser-funded programming.

Could these old plans be dusted off once again? And what will a British service look like? Will it serve just the UK, or aim for a more global English-speaking market?

Time will tell, but with such large-scale changes underway, the British broadcasting industry looks set to offer some exciting career opportunities in the very near future.

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Charlie Knight

Written by Charlie Knight

Charlie has 3 years experience in digital marketing, helping B2B technology companies grow their businesses through inbound marketing before joining Vine Resources as Content Marketing Manager. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travelling and the great outdoors, and he recently hiked from Mexico to Canada for charity.

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