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: