TV At A Crossroads: Execs Weigh Up Hulu, Others Vs. Own-Brand Approach


With Project Kangaroo having been canceled, UK TV execs face some interesting choices on their VOD strategies – continue to go it alone, give content to a UK-focused Hulu, adopt iPlayer for free or forgo online in favour of Canvas? Some directors gave their views to

BBC future media and technology director Erik Huggers: “As a UK broadcasting industry, we are at a crossroads — when the Competition Commission decided that Project Kangaroo was not going to be allowed, it basically opened the door for large American corporations to establish Project Kangaroo, but in US hands.” He worries whether commercial players like Hulu will be “driven by short-term decision-making rather than longer-term opportunities”. Huggers says plans to share the iPlayer VOD technology on a non-exclusive basis, code-named Project Marquee, would not come up against competition hurdles

Five: For commercial broadcasters, Hulu poses quite a dilemma: grow your online revenue through broad distribution via Hulu deals or keep your most valuable content for your own platforms? CEO Dawn Airey chooses the latter: “We wouldn’t allow any of our crown jewel shows [that] we have the rights to to crop up on an on-demand service as soon as they have transmitted because of the consolidated ratings they bring in.”

ITV: Online director Ben McOwen Wilson shares the same doubts: “If we are going to release our content to another company, whether exclusively or non-exclusively, we will need a good reason to do so, especially as we need to be mindful of diluting our own proposition [].”

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