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BBC, C4, ITV discuss service launch to combat Netflix

The BBC, Channel 4 (C4) and ITV have held discussions to join forces and create a streaming service that combats US giants Netflix and Amazon, according to reports.

The Guardian has reported that the trio are currently in early-stage talks to launch the service, which may also involve US TV and film group NBC Universal.

Potential ideas for the new service include expanding the iPlayer into a master brand, although there has been resistance from the other broadcasters.

Other ideas include expanding Britbox, the existing streaming service created by the BBC, ITV and AMC, for a US audience.

The move arrives after several warnings by the BBC’s director-general Tony Hall that broadcasters in the UK are facing a “fight for the future” in the current global media landscape.

It’s the third time UK broadcasters have attempted to join forces to launch competitive streaming services, a move which has proven tricky in the past.

The best performing so far is Britbox, which has brought in multiple successful projects. There had also been plans to bring in C4 to launch Britbox in the UK in the past, but this never fully transpired, according to The Guardian.

The three major UK broadcasters also had a less-successful project fall through in 2007, named Project Kangaroo. The planned VOD service was ultimately blocked by competition regulators in the UK.

Following the watchdog’s ruling in 2009, Netflix then arrived in 2012 and Amazon began pushing Prime Video from 2014 onwards.