After a week of rumors, it’s confirmed: the BBC has not renewed the licensing agreements that allow Netflix and Hulu to carry episodes of Doctor Who. The episodes had already begun to disappear from the Netflix service as of last night. Both services have discontinued streaming of the popular show as of today. Fan in the United Kingdom can still see the episodes on Netflix, but as of today neither streaming service will be making these shows available in the United States as of Feb. 1.
However, if you’re in the United States, you still have a number of options. Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play and other video-on-demand services still carry Doctor Who.
“Over the next few years, we intend to work with global partners to grow Worldwide further, taking advantage of the demand for British programming and new digital opportunities,” said BBC’s director general Tony Hall last year as reported by the Hollywood Reporter. “Next year,  we’re launching a new OTT video service in America offering BBC fans programs they wouldn’t otherwise get.”
While Doctor Who isn’t going to simply vanish from United States friendly video streaming services, the fact that the BBC is working on its own proprietary subscription service follows the recent trend of individual distributors trying to capitalize on their holdings and start their own streaming services. CBS and Disney have both already launched their own, resulting in much of their respectively owned content being pulled from other services. Amazon Studios, Hulu and Netflix have been moving into the space from the other direction, starting with viable streaming services and moving into production of their own shows. Digital media distribution as a business is changing underfoot, becoming more granular and requiring a much greater awareness of which studio owns which property.
The good news is that by cutting out middle men, end to end costs will be reduced, making new production more viable. Aggregate distribution services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Crackle will still be around to pick up the slack and provide a venue for independent production, and may turn out to be the spice that flavors the stew.