Read this: Ofcom head calls on UK broadcasters to develop rival to Netflix
Summary: The head of UK media regulator Ofcom is urging public service broadcasters to collaborate on a streaming service for British TV shows that would capture audiences that have moved online to services such as Netflix. Sharon White's speech at the Outside the Box conference in London on Wednesday will be the latest call to arms for an industry bruised by changes in audience behaviour and technological disruption. If the growth of Netflix and Amazon tells us one thing, it is that viewers will flock to single destinations that offer a wide variety of quality content, she will say. Each of the big broadcasters operates an on-demand service, such as the BBC with its iPlayer. A common platform could combine the pulling power of Broadchurch, Blue Planet and Bake Off, Ms White plans to say. It would make it easier for viewers to access content across a range of devices, with a single login. The UKs PSBs worked on a joint streaming operation a decade ago in a project dubbed Kangaroo but the plans were ultimately blocked by the Competition Commission because of the impact a combined service would have had on the broader market. But since then international players such as Netflix and Amazon have built large international streaming businesses, with Netflix alone having more than 9m paying members in the UK. The company is increasingly outbidding UK broadcasters for the best programmes and has made hits such as The Crown, a drama about the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The UK PSBs have talked about renewing the Kangaroo project but discussions have not progressed. The BBC should take the lead on forming such a partnership, Ms White will say. Her call for action comes as the broadcasters prepare to launch a new app that will aggregate their on-demand operations. Freeview, which is owned and run by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and Arqiva, will launch the app on Wednesday. It will initially be available on Apple iOS devices with plans to launch on Android early next year. The app falls short of the single login offering envisaged by Ms White because viewers will still have to sign in to each individual service. However, Jonathan Thompson, the chief executive of Digital UK, the company that supports Freeview, said it was a positive example of media sector collaboration. The new app provides the aggregated experience that consumers increasingly expect from a TV provider, he will say on Wednesday. It will put the best of free-to-air content in one place on mobile, just as we have on TV. The new app is the result of a new ÃÂ£125m, five-year deal by Freeview's shareholders to develop new services. Carolyn McCall and Alex Mahon, the new chief executives of ITV and Channel 4, have also talked of the need to join forces in an increasingly competitive marketplace. BBC, Channel 4 and ITV are also pushing for the government to pass legislation that gives PSBs more prominence on new internet TV services. Ms White will tell the conference that Ofcom will advise the government next year on how prominence in an online world might be made to work. Get alerts on Office of Communications when a new story is publishedwww.ft.comOfcom head calls on UK broadcasters to d…
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