American TV aficionados living in the U.K. will get a fabulous gift in September, when web-TV streaming company Hulu opens its service there, according to new rumors. But as well as endless Stargate and Family Guy, they'll also get their own ITV and Channel 4.
The rumors come from U.K. broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph, which has heard from the usual "sources," who are apparently close to the negotiations, that Hulu's in deep discussions with management from ITV and Channel 4: That's Britain's premier ad-supported channel, and the country's alternative-programming fourth terrestrial channel. More than 3,000 hours of American TV content is also on the table.
There's also word that some content from the BBC may be available too. If true, that represents a new step for the national broadcaster, since it currently distributes episodes online only via its extremely popular catch-up BBC iPlayer service. Apparently Hulu's negotiations are hung up on the issue of advertising--Hulu's trying to push a model that's worked in the U.S. but both Channel 4 and ITV, which currently manage their own advertising content, want to retain control.
This is a big move for Hulu, since it would give the company access to the highly web-connected Britons, who are about as fond of their TV as their U.S. cousins. And that sounds like an excellent way to expand the business, when the latest Nielsen poll shows that though internet streaming TV consumption is on the rise, 99% of all U.S. TV is still watched the traditional way: on the telly.