The BBC is planning to launch a Netflix-style subscription video on demand service in the US that will target British TV obsessives with vintage shows including “Fawlty Towers.”
In its annual report on Tuesday, the UK broadcaster’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, mooted plans to launch a “best of British archive proposition” in America later this year.
Business Insider can now reveal that BBC Worldwide is pumping single-digit-millions of pounds of investment into the yet-to-be-named video platform, which will aim to complement BBC America — the US cable channel it co-owns with “Breaking Bad” broadcaster AMC.
The service will be made available for a monthly fee, which a source said will be less than a $8.99 (£6.80) Netflix subscription, and give users access to classic UK shows, including comedies “Fawlty Towers,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “‘Allo ‘Allo!”
Quality drama and documentaries will also feature, while BBC Worldwide will also use the service to provide a home for UK shows it is unable to sell to broadcasters in the US.
A source told Business Insider it will appeal to British expats in the US, but also Americans interested in British culture.
“This is a relatively modest play in a huge market, but we believe there is a real cult audience out there,” the source added.
BBC Worldwide is yet to formally announce the Netflix rival, but is confident that it will go live in the next six months.
Marketing plans are currently being drawn up and it is likely the BBC will use BBC America and bbc.com to promote the service when it is launched.
The project is distinct from the BBC’s plans in the UK to launch a separate subscription video on demand service, which according to the Telegraph, has the working title “Britflix.” This is more ambitious in scale and will involve the BBC partnering with other UK television companies, including ITV, to showcase British content.
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