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Summary:

Germany’s TV networks are getting ready to compete with Hulu before the U.S. site has even launched in Europe: The RTL Group and the Pro 7 Sat 1 Media AG plan to open their own Hulu-like site, offering catch-up TV for up to seven days.

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European broadcasters RTL Group and Pro 7 Sat 1 Media AG are working on a joint German online TV platform to preempt any European Hulu expansion, the Financial Times Germany is reporting. The site will offer users free, ad-supported access to TV shows and movies for up to seven days after they air on TV. Both broadcasters are submitting plans for the platform to the European Commission today to get the go-ahead from Europe’s competition watchdogs, according to the report.

The Financial Times reports that the site will be open to competing broadcasters from Germany and Austria, including public broadcasters like German public TV heavyweight ARD. The site seems clearly inspired by Hulu, and a source quoted by the paper said that its aim was to aid participating networks in their competition with international Internet platforms.

However, there’s going to be one notable difference from Hulu: RTL and Pro 7 Sat 1 will only supply the technical infrastructure, but networks will still have to sell their own ads. This type of set-up is meant to avoid regulatory issues.

Hulu has been mulling international expansion for a while itself, but The Telegraph reported in April that it was ready to abandon a planned expansion to the U.K. because local broadcaster ITV decided against providing any of its content.

Disclosure: I occasionally contribute to a radio broadcaster affiliated with ARD.

Photo of the Berlin TV tower courtesy (CC-BY-SA) of Flickr user Matt Biddulph.

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  1. What’s the difference between something like this and what’s being offered at a site like http://www.cancelcabletv.com?

  2. Hey – I just wanted to say you CAN access hulu from Germany through a VPN. The VPN I use is VPN Authority (http://www.vpnauthority.com).

    They provide basically a US IP address so you can catch all your US content. Anyways, thought it was an interesting tidbit and wanted to share. They have a Free-trial so it’s definitely worth checkin out. Just my 2 cents. :)

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