Heading For A TV Rights Standoff In The UK?

from the showdown-at-the-tv-corral dept

British television broadcasters look headed for a standoff over the internet rights to the 44 percent of shows they don’t produce themselves. The dispute centers on whether or not they have the right to stream shows they buy from outside producers, or whether the producers retain those rights. The country’s media regulator has proposed guidelines that would provide different windows for when broadcasters could distribute shows on whatever platform they like, and when the rights revert back to producers. It would seem that this is simply a contractual issue for the companies to work out themselves, but it’s likely that the dispute is centered on the BBC, which has been relatively progressive in moving its TV content online, and the foreign producers from which it buys a lot of shows. If the government mandates broadcasters have the online rights against the producers’ wishes, the reaction of the producers (often US TV networks) could be to either quit selling the shows to the UK networks in favor of selling them online — despite questionable interest at current pricing levels — or price themselves right out of the market. Again, thanks to file-sharing, it won’t stop the determined from seeing the shows they like; and, again, it’s up to the producers to craft an ecosystem for their shows in which they can profit.

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