Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) may want its U.K. service to offer U.K. children’s TV shows to its British viewers, but the BBC has different plans. The broadcaster has been criticized for withholding licenses rights from streaming video services in Britain for up to five years, just enough time for the programs to outgrow their popularity.
This decision particularly incenses Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, who is only able to offer U.S. children’s shows to his British viewers on account of BBC’s refusal to hand over the necessary licenses. This not only affords BBC Netflix’s disapproval, but it also costs their commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, additional revenue that could be facilitated through Netflix.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sarandos explains, “We could pay a lot of money to license that programming, and they could make more programming and make the BBC a better public service product.” But BBC continues to stand by its decision, contending that it already has made concessions to provide Netflix with popular series such as Charlie & Lola, MI High, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Unfortunately for Sarandos, BBC isn’t the only partner in Netflix and BBC’s relationship that loses money on account of its unwillingness to negotiate. Because Netflix is unable to stream the U.K.’s children’s shows onto its TVs, it must spend more money on importing the necessary U.S. shows — shows that are less attractive to U.K. viewers who would rather have their own country’s channels available. Interestingly though, BBC Worldwide does not withhold licensing rights outside the U.K., making its children’s shows available in the U.S. and Latin America, but not in the U.K.
As Netflix continues on its journey to become a real global brand, having expanded to the U.S. and Ireland year last year, it hopes to somehow negotiate this U.K. children’s show roadblock.
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