With British-centric programming at the core of subscription streaming video-on-demand services such as Netflix, BritBox, Acorn TV and Amazon Prime Video, Sharon White, CEO of media regulator Ofcom, said the country’s public TV broadcasters should join forces to create a competing over-the-top video platform.
The United Kingdom represents the second-largest SVOD markets for Netflix and Prime Video.
Speaking Nov. 28 at the Outside the Box confab in London, White called on broadcasters responsible for popular series such as “Broadchurch,” “Bake Off” and “Blue Planet,” to combine existing OTT video platforms — BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 — into a single service that could compete against Netflix and Amazon Prime Video more effectively.
“It would make it easier for viewers to access content across a range of devices, with a single login,” White said, adding that Ofcom has been encouraging U.K. broadcasters to collaborate and harness the power of technology to capture the audiences migrating online.
White cited the BBC/ITV collaboration around the 2017 launch of BritBox in the United States, which streams original series such as “Blackadder”, “Fawlty Towers” and “East Enders,” as a blueprint.
Indeed, Ofcom contends any joint venture hinges on the BBC — a prolific producer of original content for Netflix — which launched the iPlayer in 2007, the same time Netflix began streaming video with a branded Roku device.
“I remain convinced that collaboration is vital to the success of our industry,” White said. “The sea-changes of recent years will not be the last. Nor can anyone be sure what competition and technology lie over the horizon. But while we cannot hold back the tide, our broadcasters can swim more strongly with it by working together.”