Hulu Hopes To Enter UK; Held Up By Kangaroo’s Troubles

We’ve speculated for a while that NBCU/News Corp.’s US VOD JV Hulu would like to launch here in the UK. Today C21 reports the site is considering “a partnership approach” with UK counterpart Kangaroo, with C21 even suggesting Kangaroo could itself get named “Hulu” rather than the rumoured “See-Saw”…

This is not quite our understanding of the situation. Sources told paidContent:UK the much-lauded Hulu is hoping for a UK launch next year, along with several other territories under consideration. But its plans are on hold until the outcome of the Competition Commission inquiry that’s currently preventing Kangaroo’s launch. That’s because Hulu would be better to launch with a full service, carrying public service shows from Kangaroo’s founders BBCWW, ITV (LSE: ITV) and C4, than a piecemeal offering.

Kangaroo had been expecting exclusive rights to those shows, which would close the door to Hulu – but, after an industry-wide outcry, the commission may yet rule Kangaroo must give TV shows up to others, too. It’s that which would give Hulu (and others – Joost will be also hanging on the outcome) the rights to carry those all-important UK TV shows. Without such a ruling, Hulu would have to speak with other UK broadcasters like Five and BSkyB.

Fox Digital Media president Dan Fawcett tells C21 Hulu and Kangaroo had considered a “coming together”, but it’s likely that this is about the rights Hulu needs rather than what would be a more concrete JV of JVs.

Kangaroo, too, is hoping to go international, CEO Ashley Highfield told us at this month’s Mipcom TV conference, raising the prospect of these domestic joint ventures either scrapping or collaborating in each other’s home markets. The commission is due to report by February 8.