Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

YouTube and Hulu home in on landmark UK deals

By Kate Bulkley

Broadcast News

For Broadcast July 02, 2009

YouTube and Hulu have launched charm offensives on UK broadcasters in separate bids to dominate long-form online video content in the UK.

The death of Project Kangaroo has prompted both to step up their ambitions to host full-length UK shows. YouTube is understood to be offering minimum guarantees of up to £5m per year for broadcasters’ programming, as well as up to 70% of the online ad revenue generated around the shows.

Hulu, which is likely to launch in the UK in September, is offering British broadcasters equity stakes in Hulu UK plus a share of online advertising.

It is understood that ITV is closer to a deal with Hulu because of the offer of equity, while Channel 4 is closer to a deal - likely non-exclusive - with YouTube.

“YouTube has a big checkbook and it is larging it around town,” said a person close to discussions. “It is offering significant minimum guarantees in exchange for a good line-up of shows immediately after transmission on TV.”

ITV director of online & interactive Ben McOwen Wilson said: “As you’d expect post-Kangaroo, we are looking at a number of possibilities for our archive content and we are talking to a range of people and organisations as we weigh up our options. It’s too early to say what the final outcome of these conversations might be. We do think an aggregator in the UK has a role to play. Without a doubt there will be somebody or many of them who will make a really good stab at this.” Channel 4 declined to comment.

YouTube launched long-form programming on its US website earlier this year and has deals with broadcasters, including the BBC, for US-only online viewers. The Google-owned site said at the time it would explore similar partnerships in other countries but a UK spokesman declined to comment.

A Hulu spokeswoman said: “Hulu continues to investigate opportunities for international expansion but doesn’t have any details to share at this time.”

Beside YouTube and Hulu, there are other aggregators eager to secure UK broadcasters’ programming for online exploitation. Microsoft’s MSN and the indie startup, Blinkbox, are also trying to secure the right to offer whole programmes on their sites supported by advertising.

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