The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will be launching a Netflix-style video streaming service in the United States in 2016. Programs which already air on U.S. channels, like Doctor Who or Top Gear, will not be included.


The decision to launch a video streaming service is driven by a need for increased revenue. The BBC is a government supported network and is funded through public license fees paid by British viewers. The network is aired commercial free in the United Kingdom.


Having been on the air since 1929, BBC has a massive library of programs and movies to draw from for its new service. The majority of this programming has yet to hit American screens, which carries both its benefits and negative points. The yet-to-be-named video streaming service will introduce a massive, untapped library of content to the American market, but it may have trouble building a customer base since it features no big name programs.


BBC streaming image on computer screen


Rivals to the planned service, such as Netflix and HBO Go, attained success by promoting well known content with dedicated fans. The BBC is very popular in the United States, but its fans are more of a cult following than the fanbase of other major entertainment providers. The British station will be relying on its reputation for providing excellent quality programming to pull in viewers.


In a speech earlier in September, the director general of BBC, Lord Tony Hall said: “we’re launching a new over-the-top video service in America offering BBC fans programs they wouldn’t otherwise get, showcasing British actors, our program makers, and celebrating our culture.”


How receptive will American audiences be to never before seen British programming? Will the BBC be able to compete with Netflix and HBO Go? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4