BBC Worldwide has sold period drama hit Call The Midwife to US video-on-demand service Netflix and has identified major opportunities in the global digital market.

The BBC1 series, starring Miranda Hart, will be available on the S-VoD service from January. PBS, which has already bought the US TV rights, will air it in September.

BBC Worldwide America executive vice-president of sales and co-productions Matt Forde said Midwife would reach a new audience on Netflix.

“We can see a difference between digital services. Netflix has a slightly older and more general audience with 22 million subscribers. It is more focused on drama, which, along with comedy, is important to digital services.

“Hulu has done very well with Saturday Night Live, and edgy British programming such as Misfits appeals to the younger demographic.”

The distributor expects to have between 13 and 15 deals with download-to-own and VoD services by the end of the year.

“Our relationship with Hulu has moved on a long way from where it was two years ago,” says Forde.

““We have 50,000 hours of content and are able to build relationships down the value chain. We are very careful about who we work with, but we believe in trying to work with people on a good number of progressive deals.”

The Call the Midwife deal follows Hulu’s first international co-pro deal with BBCW for the new series of Armando Iannuci’s The Thick of It.

Forde said: “We are optimistic about doing more co-pro output deals but we are at the beginning of that process.”