Hulu is the offspring of a joint venture between Disney, News Corporation, and NBC Universal. Since February of this year, Hulu has tried to replicate its success in the U.K. by partnering with BBC, Channel 4, and ITV, only to be blocked by the Competition Commission. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped the popular video website from negotiating with their potential British partners. Now it looks like Hulu and ITV are “within weeks” of making a deal.
ITV Productions makes programmes for several channels but Hulu will have exclusive rights to those made for ITV including Coronation Street and Dancing on Ice. It is expected that ITV Player, the broadcaster’s 30 day catch-up service, will continue to show all of ITV’s programming.
ITV will still be able to sign deals with other web TV players, such as YouTube or MSN Video, Microsoft’s new online TV proposition, to broadcast its other content – but will be locked in with Hulu exclusively on these shows.
Channel 4 is understood to be closer to signing a content deal with YouTube, which would see its content play out in full for the first time on video site. It is a non-exclusive deal and YouTube is understood to be offering money in exchange for catch-up long form rights. It is also in similar talks with ITV and BBC Worldwide.
I love the language this writer from The Daily Telegraph uses, treating Hulu and YouTube like sports organizations and ITV, Channel 4, and the BBC like big names on the free agent market. ITV is close to locking a deal with Hulu. However, Channel 4 is still entertaining offers from YouTube. Given that I watch sports very closely, the language used in big business deals rings virtually the same as sports transactions.
Anyway, this deal will be beneficial for all parties involved. Hulu has offered ITV a chance to take equity in it’s company. From my understanding, Britain’s ITV is very similar to our PBS in that multiple franchises have a stake in the brand. Over the years, however, the network has struggled, and ITV plc is now the main company behind most of the programming. The network’s top shows include Coronation Street, Emmerdale, and The X Factor.