Netflix claims BBC is holding back UK children’s shows

Published on: 31st May 2013

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s content chief, has said the BBC restricts UK licensing for up to five years, forcing the streaming service to buy US shows

Sarandos has accused the BBC of stifling the potential of homegrown children’s shows by holding them back from the US video-on-demand (VOD) company’s UK streaming service for up to five years.

Sarandos said the BBC’s restrictive policy towards licensing kids’ shows to VOD services such as Netflix in the UK means a potential source of extra money to invest in creating the next great homegrown show, such as Teletubbies or In the Night Garden, is being cut off. He added that his company has been forced to invest in US kids’ shows to offer to its 2m-plus UK users.

Sarandos said: “[The BBC] do some things that are very negative for consumers, like they hold back programming from the BBC before it comes to Netflix, up to five years for kids’ programming. We could pay a lot of money to licence that programming, and they could make more programming and make the BBC a better public service product. What is amazing is we have the ability to give an even larger global footprint to BBC content, but I don’t want to sit behind that big blackout window.” He added that the non-competitive BBC policy is forcing the big-spending Netflix – he controls a $2bn-a-year content budget – to look elsewhere for children’s shows to offer to UK subscribers.

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