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Netflix delves into TV production

Online film rental service Netflix is reportedly planning to step up its battle with satellite broadcaster BSkyB by commissioning original scripts and book adaptations.

Netflix has acquired the rights to adapt Brian McGreevy's novel Hemlock Grove and Piper Kerman's account of life inside a women's prison, Orange Is The New Black, as the basis for new television series, The Sunday Telegraph said.

The move is similar to BSkyB's set-up, in which acquisitions of US films and television series are supplemented by commissioned series, with the broadcaster pledging to spend 600 million a year on British productions by 2014.

Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, said there is a team in place to commission content.

He told The Sunday Telegraph the company had already tested the market by becoming involved with some acquisitions without a full script, and that it would be "fully flexible" to secure the best content.

He said: "There is a continuum. At the most extreme case you're writing all your own scripts. The next layer up is that you're optioning books. It's good to have a portfolio of different things and we'd be open to doing that for the right projects."

Mr Hastings said Netflix would not pose a big threat to companies such as BSkyB in the long term, arguing that traditional broadcasting will become a thing of the past in 20 years, and that customers will buy Netflix on top of their BSkyB subscription.

Competition in the broadcast market has heated up this year, with the likes of BT and Virgin Media bolstering their services with acquired rights to Premiership football games and the recordable, on-demand TiVo service respectively.

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