BBC, ITV in Talks to Launch Subscription Video Streaming Service (Report)

BBC, ITV and NBCUniversal are reportedly in talks about a streaming service.
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Early-stage discussions about a Netflix-style service reportedly also involved NBCUniversal.

The BBC has held early-stage discussions with ITV about launching a Netflix-style subscription video streaming service, The Guardian reported.

The paper said the companies were in the early stages of exploring and evaluating a possible new service, which would mostly focus on offering older archive TV content and some original fare in the U.K. It said NBCUniversal, which owns the producers of such shows as Downton Abbey, was also involved in the talks.

The BBC and ITV make their shows available for British viewers for 30 days on their VOD services. Older BBC content can also be found on the recently launched BBC Store online.

ITV management has talked about working on new ways to make its extensive content library available, and it has grown its ITV Studios production arm, including through acquisitions. Meanwhile, BBC director general Tony Hall has often talked about his goal of making the public broadcaster fit for the digital age and finding new revenue streams amid financial pressures. Last year, he announced plans to launch a U.S. streaming service in 2016.

Netflix ended 2015 with more than 75 million subscribers worldwide. In the U.K., it is believed to have more than 5 million subscribers, according to analysts' and research firms' estimates.

Representatives for the companies declined to comment.

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