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BBC may take on Netflix with streaming subscription service called Britflix

TechCrunch TechCrunch 16/05/2016 Jordan Crook

The BBC may be looking to build a Netflix-style streaming subscription service for the UK, according to a report this morning out of the Telegraph.

The service would be built in conjunction with ITV, BBC’s commercial rival in Great Britain, and would use BBC’s iPlayer to stream content to users, the report suggests.

The BBC’s primary revenues come from an annual television licensing fee. All households, companies, and organizations that have equipment to either receive or record broadcast television must pay this fee, which is set by the British government.

As the world’s oldest national broadcasting company (and the biggest), the BBC seems to be anticipating the winds of change with regards to streaming content. We are slowly moving toward an age where content isn’t bundled, but rather available on-demand as part of a pick-and-play subscription.

In a White Paper released last week, outlining the BBC’s Charter renewal, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale called for the corporation to integrate other forms of revenue, including additional subscription services.

In an interview with the Telegraph following the White Paper’s release, Whittingdale said it was the BBC’s suggestion to incorporate more subscription services, and that the government is encouraging of such a move.

From the Telegraph:

If they want to explore that kind of thing, we’d encourage them. There may come a moment in the future where all television is delivered online, and if you do that it becomes a more realistic practical possibility if you wanted to move towards an element of voluntary subscription, which is why the BBC, who see the way the world is changing, have said, ‘Yeah we will just see for the online provision, whether or not there might be a case for additional new content being delivered on a subscription service, via the iPlayer’.

The report also mentioned that the service might be called ‘Britflix,’ which suggests direct competition with Netflix in name alone.

Alongside streaming its archived content, sources told the Telegraph that the service may also release original content, just as Netflix has done with Orange Is The New Black, House Of Cards (which was originally a BBC show from the early 90s) and Making A Murderer.

The BBC has yet to make an official announcement, but all signs point to the launch of a streaming subscription service.

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