ProSieben, RTL plan German version of Hulu

Proposed site would be an open platform

COLOGNE, Germany -- Broadcasting giants ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL Group are planning to set up a German version of Hulu, according to media reports.

Both networks declined comment Friday, but the proposal has apparently already been submitted to the European Commission for regulatory approval.

RTL and ProSieben already operate separate online portals streaming selected shows from their German channels. RTL and ProSieben-controlled channels account for more than half the free TV audience in Germany.

The proposed site, however, would be an open platform on which any German network could stream their shows. RTL and ProSieben would run the site as a joint venture, providing the technical infrastructure and support. It's a structure that would mirror Hulu, which is controlled by NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment Group and ABC but streams content from all channels.

Hulu has so far been unable to take its highly successful U.S. site global because the group lacks the rights to stream top shows in foreign territories. At an Internet conference in Germany in January, Hulu Boss Jason Kilar said the company was working hard to change that.

RTL and ProSieben already control German rights to the majority of imported hits, such as "House," "CSI" and "Desperate Housewives." With a rival site, Germany's big networks could colonize the online streaming market here and shut Hulu out.
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