Hulu Pacts with BBC for ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Fawlty Towers’ and Other Brit TV Fare

Hulu Pacts with BBC 'Doctor Who,'

About 2,000 episodes from 144 titles will come to Hulu Plus subscription-video service

Hulu is bulking up its subscription biz for Anglophiles, in a multiyear pact with BBC Worldwide North America that will add 2,000 episodes to Hulu Plus.

The 144 BBC titles covered under the deal will give Hulu Plus one of the largest collections of British imports in the U.S., including: “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear,” “Fawlty Towers,” and “Blackadder.”

SEE ALSO: Hulu Pledges to Double Originals, Acquisitions

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Agreement is not exclusive to Hulu; BBC has streaming deals in the States with Netflix and Amazon.com as well.

For Hulu, a joint venture of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney Co., the new BBC deal is part of a larger attempt for the Internet TV company to boost its base of paying subscribers, which is now north of 4 million. Hulu’s parent companies were in the process of evaluating bids for the JV before they reverse course this summer and announced they would invest $750 million to expand programming and personnel.

Starting Wednesday, Hulu Plus subscribers can start streaming “Doctor Who” and spinoffs “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and “Torchwood,” as well as natural history and nonfiction programming including “Blue Planet” and Richard Hammond’s “Crash Course.”

This fall, the Internet TV service will add “Top Gear,” “Sherlock,” “MI-5” and “Luther”; comedies including “Fawlty Towers,” “Twenty Twelve” and “Blackadder”; sci-fi series “Bedlam,” “Red Dwarf” and “Primeval”; and natural history shows including selections from David Attenborough’s “Life in the…” series. In addition, other titles like “Upstairs, Downstairs,” “Wallander” and “Bleak House” will be available.

Additional series will roll out throughout the year, ultimately giving Hulu Plus subscribers access to more than 2,000 episodes of new and library BBC Worldwide titles. A subset of the BBC library will rotate through the free Hulu.com service.

“Hulu has enjoyed a strong collaboration with BBC Worldwide North America, from international co-productions to breakthrough exclusive shows that have been embraced in the U.S. by extremely passionate audiences,” Andy Forssell, acting CEO and senior VP of content for Hulu, said in a statement. “By adding this expansive collection of premium BBC Worldwide programming, Hulu Plus solidifies its role as a top streaming platform for the best British programming available in the U.S.”

Hulu and BBC Worldwide North America started their relationship in 2010. Since then, Hulu has exclusively offered U.K. programming such as “Misfits,” “Moone Boy,” “The Thick of It,” “Rev.” and “Pramface.” In addition, Hulu and the BBC have co-produced the fourth season of “The Thick of It” and the upcoming Hulu original “The Wrong Mans.”

The deal with Hulu was brokered via Beth Clearfield, senior VP of digital distribution for BBC Worldwide North America.

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corp. whose operations include BBC America and BBC.com.

Watch the Hulu trailer for the BBC content:

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 2

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Ted says:

    Despite the fact that it’s a paid service, Hulu Plus adds frequent, long, repetitive (and unskippable) commercial breaks to its programming. (Something Netflix, which costs the same, manages not to do.)

    If the service will be doing that with these BBC shows, they won’t be worth the trouble.

  2. Living the Geek Life says:

    This is great! I’m a big fan of many British shows and it’s not always easy to find them here in the US. I wonder if this will include classic Who or just the current series?

More Digital News from Variety

Loading