But unlike earlier ventures such as Freeview and YouView they intend to onboard NBC Universal as a partner.
The Guardian reports that the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV have held discussions about running a joint British streaming service that would combine to take on their deep pocketed US rivals. An early idea to harness the iPlayer brand has been rejected by the commercial PSBs that have both changed the identity of their own catch-up services on a number of occasions.
Channel 5, which is controlled by Viacom, thought to be a part of the talks.
According to BARB, Netflix has an installed base of 8.2 million households, Amazon reaches 4.3 million households and Now TV 1.5 million households.
It’s not the first time that there have been talks about establishing a PSB-backed platform. In March 2016 discussions on a combined streaming service took place between the BBC and ITV. NBC Universal was again also involved.
This time around there is the added twist of NBC’s parent Comcast bidding against Fox for control of Sky.
And in 2007 the public service broadcasters attempted to bring together their online offerings under the Project Kangaroo. The project was rejected by the Competition Commission two years later; a decision that was roundly condemned by broadcasters including Michael Grade, the then chairman and chief executive of ITV: “We are surprised by this decision because we believed that the Kangaroo joint venture, competing in a crowded online world against dominant global brands, was an attractive UK consumer proposition, free at the point of use.”