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28/11/2007

'Kangaroo' Poised To Leap Into On-Demand Provision

BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 have announced the creation of a joint venture to provide an on-demand content service in 2008.
The service, with a working title of 'Kangaroo' - a brand for the new service will be unveiled before launch - will bring together some 10,000 hours of top current and archive UK programming in one on-line location.
Content will be available both streamed and downloaded and viewers will be able to watch for free, rent or buy.
It is anticipated that the new service will be able to share the cost of the latest technology and enable rapid technological enhancements whilst building on the experience of 4oD, ITV.com and the BBC’s iPlayer.
The new service will complement BBC iPlayer, the free catch-up TV service offering hundreds of programmes a week from the last seven days.
BBC iPlayer content will be listed within the new service.
John Smith, Chief Executive Officer of BBC Worldwide said: "This is a historic partnership between the UK's largest broadcasters. For some time we have wanted to form an alliance with other rights' holders in the UK and give viewers an on-demand service with real added value.
"The new service will contain some of the very best of the UK's content for consumers to view in one place, which will be both easy to use and great fun. By combining our joint resources we're really taking control of our destiny in a market that’s moving at a fast pace," he said.
ITV.com will continue to feature a 30 day catch-up facility alongside simulcasts of ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 and a wealth of news, clips, stills, exclusive content and interactivity across and around ITV programming.
Michael Grade, Executive Chairman of ITV plc said: "This key strategic move is complementary to our investment in itv.com and further strengthens ITV's customer proposition online. The joint service has the potential to become an important shop window for UK broadcaster content and a great destination for viewers.
"The deal is structured so that we each benefit from content being viewed, ensuring that there is significant revenue potential in the growth of the venture for all involved. The joint venture will play an important role, alongside itv.com, Friends Reunited and ITV Local, in delivering our online revenue targets as outlined by us in September," said the Chairman.
Channel 4's website will host a catch-up service including accompanying comprehensive programme information and clips, whilst 4oD will evolve into the new service.
Andy Duncan, Channel 4 Chief Executive said: "TV on the internet is a rapidly growing medium as proven by the incredible success that Channel 4 has enjoyed with its 4oD service. We want to continue to build and innovate in this area, giving viewers ultimate control over what they watch and when they watch it, and believe that partnering and sharing expertise is the best way of doing this.
"We believe this deal will lead to a major step change in the on-demand services offered by UK broadcasters and is good news for independents and the creative community, for advertisers and, above all, for viewers."
A former senior executive at TataSky and BSkyB, Lesley MacKenzie has been appointed as Launch CEO and is currently recruiting top executives to lead the joint venture team.
The proposals for the service remain subject to formal approval from the BBC Trust and each broadcaster's board.
The joint venture will be owned equally and will work independently as an aggregator of both joint venture partners and third party content.
Initially the service will launch on the web and will then be available for distribution on other platforms.
(SP)
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