Good news for American Anglophiles: The BBC is starting a new US service in the hope that American viewers can offset a potential fall in revenue at home. The Netflix-style online subscription service will be launched next year, and while big hits like Sherlock are tied up in deals with other services, the BBC says the new service will include its huge back catalog, as well as new material that wouldn't reach the US otherwise, Politico reports. The BBC is currently funded with a yearly $225 "license fee" that all TV owners in the UK are required to pay, but the government has launched a major review of the corporation's operations and is seeking new sources of income, Politico notes.
"We're launching a new OTT (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," BBC chief Tony Hall said at an industry event yesterday, per Reuters. He promised that the billions of dollars the BBC plans to raise worldwide will be invested in new content for British audiences. No word yet on what the new service will be called, or what it will cost. The Atlantic frames the news: "The archives the BBC could offer up are staggering to contemplate. The network has offered original TV programming since 1929, starting only three years after the invention of the television, and it’s impossible to summarize its greatest hits" ... hits that include Monty Python's Flying Circus and Ricky Gervais' The Office.