RIP Kangaroo

kangarooPeople have described the killing off of Project Kangaroo (the combined video delivery platform for big player tv channels in the UK) as “analogue thinking in supposedly digital Britain”. To an extent I agree.

Why should we have to use N number of platforms to view tv content, why not aggregate all into one viewer so that the user hasn’t got to move from 4OD to iPlayer to Sky or ITV every time they want quality programming?

However, perhaps both the Competition Commission and Kangaroo have missed the point. A Channel like 5 or UKTV doesn’t have the money or resource to develop a quality player, yet they were excluded from the original project. The BBC whether it likes it or not is awash with public cash which it was using to benefit deeply commercial organisations like Sky and ITV, but not other less powerful ones like Five. That’s not ethical.

The user should have ease of access, absolutely, but if their own licence fee is involved it should be to allow them maximum ease of access not to exclude smaller commerical organisations to the benefit of the big players.

There was no way the Competition Commission would have allowed this from the start, and I suspect that Kangaroo thought they would eb able to ride it out because they were big enough and ugly enough to convince everyone that it was a “good thing” for digital Britain and the User. They could have looked to the fiasco that was BBC Jam to determine whether it was going to be allowed to go through or not, but they chose not to.

Now I must say three things:-

1. I have friends that work at Kangaroo and I hope they won’t lynch me for what I just wrote

2. I really love Five – I love what they have done with Fiver and Five US and I want them to succeed.  I would have liked them to be part of the project.

3. I am not aware as to whether Kangaroo had a roll out plan that would have included other commercial tv channels. IN which case I would say that most of what I wrote above is not valid. But my understanding is that it was a closed shop of the big players and unforutnately in this case, it’s the law guv.

For alternate views check out no less a person than Emily Bell of the Guardian, who thinks absolutely the opposite of me and Paul Murphy, who works there.


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