The BBC and the US pay-TV company Discovery are understood to be in the final stages of agreeing a £1bn breakup of the Gold and Dave broadcaster, UKTV, in a deal that will accelerate plans to build a British streaming rival to Netflix.
Well, if there was any doubt about the impact streaming will have on traditional broadcasters, this is clear evidence of the new world of broadcasting we are now in.
As I speculated in the media mergers thread some months ago, when Discovery took over Scripps (the co owner of UKTV) there was a possibility that changes might happen at UKTV as a result of that takeover and according to the article, the changes are that UKTV is to be axed completely!
Part of the reason why the BBC is looking to axe UKTV is due to the difficulty of negotiating on demand rights for BBC content which is shown on UKTV channels, as evidenced by the removal of UKTV's channels from Virgin Media's cable network last month.
Another reason is simply that the BBC want to control their own content and in a streaming world, ULTV has become quite a barrier for the BBC to achieve this.
The BBC, ITV and Ch4 are all looking to created a combined streaming service similar to their joint venture in America which is called Britbox. How this service would sit alongside the broadcaster's current on demand offerings in unclear, but as Ofcom gave the broadcasters the greenlight to do this earlier in the year, it looks like planning is in the final stages now.
Having just got the UKTV channels back, I'd be furious if the linear tv channels were completely axed as part of all this.
Could iPlayer simply be extended to include ITV and Ch4 content?