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August 28, 2009

ITV soon to go IPTV

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by Alan Harten

ITV is working on finalising its stake in Hulu, an online streaming video service that originated in the US, so that soon many British programmes could become available for online viewing, such as mainstays like Coronation Street.

Hulu has been trying to enter the British market since the TV venture Project Kangaroo was blocked by regulators at the beginning of 2009.

In order to get into the UK market, Hulu offered a significant equity stake to ITV although the exact figure is not known.

It is not believed that Channel 4 was offered any stake.

Over in the US, ABC and NBC hold 27% equal shares in Hulu.

An industry source stated that for ITV to make the venture worthwhile, it has to make sure that it gets a significant profit out of it, since it will be the main drive behind its popularity across the UK.

As part of the agreement, ITV would offer Hulu the rights to some of the shows created by ITV Productions to air on the online streaming website.

The only part of the agreement that is stalled is the fact that ITV wants to control its ad sales and is not willing to split the sales between the ITV player and the Hulu service because pricing and deals will have to differ from what is offered on the player.

Once the ITV deal is closed, Hulu is expected to attempt to close a deal for content with BBC Worldwide.

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