Kangaroo (video on demand)

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Kangaroo was the working title for a proposed video on demand platform offering content from BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC), ITV.com and Channel 4's 4oD (collectively UK VOD LLP), initially expected to launch in 2008, but blocked by the Competition Commission in 2009.[1][2] Following the Commission's rejection of the bid, the technology platform was put up for sale, and the broadcasters then moved on to Project Canvas and YouView.

The bidders included Orange (who pulled out)[3] and Arqiva.[4] The project was bought by Arqiva for about 8 million pounds on the 23 July 2009,[5] promising to launch in the 'coming months'.[6] It was launched as SeeSaw in February 2010 but was shut down in October 2011.

The original Project Kangaroo[edit]

Unlike the BBC iPlayer, which is publicly funded and has no plans to carry any paid content, Kangaroo would have allowed users to purchase content from a large back catalogue. As noted below, the plan to link to content on BBC iPlayer means that it would have provided a single broadband VOD service for the key three broadcasters in the UK. Kangaroo was the project name; the final name and brand of the service was never announced, but it was believed it would have been known as SeeSaw.[2] The evidence it was to be called SeeSaw includes the DNS record for seesaw.co.uk which shows that it was owned by UK VOD LLP,[7] designs on Ostmodern's website show the brand name in the footer[8] and the registered trademark showing the name and the same logo as is on the design mockups.[9] As of 1 October 2009, the DNS record is attributed to Arqiva and SeeSaw was released in February 2010, and shutdown from lack of funding and content in October 2011.

The three networks behind the project would continue to offer content independently of the service, with ITV plc and Channel 4 planning to offer catch up services through their own websites, and the BBC saying that it will not replace the iPlayer, but content from the iPlayer would be "listed within" the new service.[10] However, it was expected that 4oD would be subsumed into Kangaroo.[11]

Capablue were the lead agency on the project - responsible for the project management, requirements specification, product development. The user experience and visual design was by Ostmodern and the systems integration by ioko.[12]

It was announced on 14 April 2008 that Ashley Highfield, Director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC, had been appointed the CEO of Kangaroo.[13] Ashley Highfield left the project in November 2008, to work for Microsoft.[14]

On 30 June 2008, the UK's Office of Fair Trading referred the proposal to the Competition Commission with concerns that "there was a danger that the platform could be too powerful".[15] The Commission published an interim report on 3 December saying that the service could "hurt competition"[16] and a final report was published on 4 February 2009, formally blocking the project.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sweney, Mark (2007-11-27). "Broadcasters to launch joint VoD service". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  2. ^ a b "SeeSaw selected as name of video-on-demand service". Media Week. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  3. ^ Sweney, Mark (2009-05-19). "Orange pulls out of talks to buy Project Kangaroo technology". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  4. ^ "TV Tech Firm Arqiva Interested In Kangaroo’s Technology". 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  5. ^ Sweney, Mark (2009-07-24). "Arqiva understood to have paid about £8m for Project Kangaroo assets". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Arqiva to acquire Project Kangaroo platform assets". 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  7. ^ "DNS record for seesaw.co.uk". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Design mock up". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  9. ^ ""See Saw trademark on IPO website". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  10. ^ "Project Kangaroo leaps closer to reality". The Stage. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  11. ^ "Key 4oD exec to leave Channel 4". Digital Spy. 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  12. ^ Sweney, Mark (2007-11-27). "VoD: Five left on the sidelines". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  13. ^ "Ashley Highfield appointed as CEO of Kangaroo". BBC Worldwide Press Releases. 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  14. ^ Mason, Rowena (2008-11-25). "Microsoft poaches Ashley Highfield from BBC, Channel 4 and ITV joint internet venture". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  15. ^ "Probe of video-on-demand venture". BBC News. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  16. ^ "On-demand video 'not competitive'". BBC News. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  17. ^ ‘PROJECT KANGAROO’ – FINAL REPORT