Dr Who comes to Netflix via major deal with BBC

20 Dec 2011

Netflix users in the UK and Ireland will be able to instantly watch classic BBC programmes like Doctor Who, Top Gear and Little Britain, thanks to a new deal that has been struck between the BBC and the online video giant.

Beginning early 2012, previous series of BBC shows such as Torchwood and Spooks will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the UK and Ireland streamed over the internet to connected TVs, tablets, game consoles, computers and mobile phones.

Financial terms of the deal between Netflix and BBC Worldwide were not disclosed.

Netflix announced in October that it would launch its service in the UK and Ireland early in 2012.

“BBC shows are a big favourite of our over 20m streaming members in the US, Canada and Latin America,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer.

“Members love watching back-to-back episodes of BBC series where and when they want, at the click of a button. We are incredibly proud to make these high quality programmes available to Netflix members in the UK and Ireland,” Sarandos said.

Additional BBC titles available to members of Netflix in the UK and Ireland will include comedies like Little Britain and Fawlty Towers, and dramas like Miss Marple and Inspector Lynley.

“UK audiences have really grasped the experience that online viewing can bring, and our programming has proven to be particularly popular with this digital audience,” said Steve Macallister, president and managing director, Sales & Distribution, BBC Worldwide.

Online video business continues to grow

In related news, it has been claimed that consumption of legitimate free and paid-for online video is on track to exceed 770bn views across the USA, UK, France and Germany this year. According to a new report from Futuresource Consulting, improvements in accessibility and ease of use are among the growth triggers that have seen the rise from around 640bn views last year, with the USA dominating the market.

“Total online video views are on track to grow by 20pc and paid-for online video revenues will reach in excess of $3bn this year,” says Mai Hoang, senior analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“Online purchase and rental transactions are playing a part, but the majority of this revenue is coming out of the USA, predominantly through streaming subscription service Netflix. By 2015, paid-for online video spend is forecast to hit close to $7bn across the four countries.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years