By Chris Tryhorn: UK broadcaster Five has signed a deal with CBS (NYSE: CBS) to make programmes available on the US network’s on-demand video website TV.com.
The partnership is a coup for CBS, allowing it to steal a march on its US rivals ABC (NYSE: DIS), Fox and NBC, whose video-on-demand portal Hulu has yet to break into the UK market despite long-running talks with rights owners.
Today’s deal establishes TV.com as the latest contender in the emerging UK market for on-demand television on the internet, putting itself up against Google-owned video site YouTube and SeeSaw, the successor to UK broadcasters’ ill-fated venture Project Kangaroo that launched last week.
The TV.com deal builds on Five’s strong relationship with CBS, the studio that produces Five’s most successful show, the CSI franchise, along with other imports such as NCIS and Numb3rs.
Among the Five shows available on TV.com are the Australian soaps Neighbours and Home and Away, and The Gadget Show.
TV.com users will be able to watch programmes from Five’s catch-up TV service, Demand Five, shortly after they are broadcast, as well as around 250 hours of the UK broadcaster’s archive content.
The programmes will be free of charge, with ads screened before and during the video, and available only in the UK.
Jonathan Lewis, Five’s head of digital media, said: “Our partnership with TV.com is a further example of Five’s strategy to expand and grow the reach of its content beyond the small screen to premium secure digital platforms.”
Both Five and Channel 4 have deals in place with YouTube and SeeSaw that allow the broadcasters to sell their own video advertising.
ITV (LSE: ITV), meanwhile, has yet to make its shows available to a third-party website and has put talks with Hulu on hold following the arrival of new chairman Archie Norman.
Hulu is thought to have wanted to strike exclusive content deals and to hang on to the right to sell video advertising in shows.
It was tipped to be the most formidable competitor in the UK on-demand market but now risks being outflanked by swifter entrants.
As well as YouTube and SeeSaw, Demand Five is available on Five’s own website and on BT’s broadband TV service BT (NYSE: BT) Vision.
The partnership with Five is CBS’s first major deal for long-form content in Europe. Other deals are expected to follow.
“With the addition of Five’s content, TV.com continues its mission to be a place for TV entertainment in the UK,” said Jill Orr, managing director and vice president of CBS Interactive UK.
CBS wants TV.com to act as a community website where fans can discuss their favourite shows. As well as offering full episode streams, the site features clips and other material, and provides show summaries, episode guides and information on thousands of TV series.
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..