BBC Three fights to keep Family Guy for iPlayer era
James R | On 13, Mar 2014
“Family Guy and American Dad are so important to BBC3. We plan to continue showing them,” BBC director of television Danny Cohen tweeted from BBC Free Speech last week, following the announcement that BBC Three would be transformed into an online-only channel.
And it looks like he meant it, as Broadcast reports the BBC is now battling with 20th Century Fox to secure the animated show for its new digital home, despite ongoing disagreements between the two that have previously prevented it from being available on BBC iPlayer.
The decision to move BBC Three online was met with public outcry last week, with some angry because of the slashing of BBC Three’s budgets, which would threaten the channel’s vital role in nurturing new and homegrown talent, and others annoyed because it would mean Family Guy would no longer be available.
The Beeb may not be about to address the financial issue – they will be handing a significant portion of the channel’s budgets to BBC One for drama production – but they appear to be taking the other concern very seriously.
A spokesman for the channel told Broadcast: “We will be speaking to all our suppliers, following last week’s announcement. However, at the moment due to rights issues, we are unable to make Family Guy or American Dad available on BBC iPlayer.”
Fox has banned other series from being shown on the BBC’s video on-demand service – reportedly because of security worries – but alongside American Dad, Family Guy has proven to be one of BBC Three’s biggest draws, pulling in 500,000 viewers.
Marion Edwards, President of International Television at 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, added: “We value our relationship with the BBC and are really proud of the work that the BBC and Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution have done together to build the franchises of both Family Guy and American Dad in the UK market.”