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BBC eyes streaming alliance with European public broadcasters to take on Netflix

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By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

January 13, 2019 | 4 min read

The BBC is reportedly in talks to extend its commercial ties with European public service broadcasters in a bid to stave off competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

According to the Sunday Times, the BBC is poised to "lead a fightback" against US streaming giants by pushing for its European counterparts to form stronger alliances

The Times claims that European broadcasters are concerned that Netflix et al will start funneling investment into more 'local' content; a fear which has in part prompted the move.

BBC eyes streaming alliance with European public broadcasters to take on Netflix

The push could not only lead to more BBC content appearing on European platforms / BBC - Dr Who

Noting that BBC director general Lord Tony Hall recently became the president of the European Broadcasting Union (which represents 117 public networks) the report claims he will now spearhead a movement for greater collaboration.

The push could not only lead to more BBC content like Luther or Dr Who runnning on European platforms, but also more continental content streaming on iPlayer.

In a statement, the BBC didn't elaborate on the claims, but said: “We and other public service broadcasters care passionately about homegrown content because it reflects the type of people in those countries. We want to see the broadcasters thrive and, of course, other countries in the EU want to see them thrive in a fast-changing market.”

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The Drum has reached out to the broadcaster for further information.

In the US, the BBC has teamed up with commercial network ITV run a joint subscription video on-demand service called Britbox, which gives viewers in the US access to a digital catalogue of new and vintage British content.

Along with Channel 4, the pair attempted to work together on a similar service in the UK a decade ago. Called Project Kangaroo, it failed to get off the ground after being blocked by the now defunct Competition Commission in 2009.

In the UK, TV regulator, Ofcom, has been tacitly putting Project Kangaroo back on the agenda by urging public service broadcasters to collaborate to safeguard their futures.

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