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YouView starts talks with U.S. studios

Hollywood majors may have channels on U.K. service

Upstart Internet-connected TV service YouView, backed by the broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4 plus telco BT, among others, has held early talks with Hollywood studios about launching online channels on the venture.

YouView chairman Kip Meek said that Internet-delivered channels carrying U.S. shows and movies would make economic sense for the studios.

“One of the key components of YouView will be its IP (Internet Protocol) channels … and we want to get many of the big U.S. content owners involved,” Meek said at a lunch in London hosted by the Broadcasting Press Guild on Wednesday.

“If we become successful it will be very important for the studios to participate in YouView, possibly as affiliates.

“For content creators and owners, IP channels are attractive because they provide much lower entry costs than existing television platforms.”

U.K. regulator Ofcom last week greenlit YouView, known previously as Project Canvas, despite opposition from local payboxes BSkyB and Virgin, which fear it will take subscribers away from them.

YouView will be available free via broadband with the purchase of a set-top box.

Meek said it will launch next year but declined to be specific about a date.

It will offer easy-to-use, seven-day catch-up services, alongside IP channels, on-demand content and applications, plus traditional digital terrestrial channels.

Meek acknowledged that YouView is up against Google and Apple in the connected TV market.

YouView’s seven shareholders are each investing £4.5 million ($7.1 million) in the venture over the next four years.

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