UK television networks to launch a Joost-killer?

Freeview logoThe Guardian newspaper reported earlier this week that talks are taking place between British broadcasters — BBC, Channel 4 and ITV — regarding a joint online video service that will “do for broadband what Freeview did for digital TV”. (Freeview is the UK’s free-to-air digital television service.)

Called “Project Kangaroo”, it is understood the new broadband service would pool BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programming for delivery on demand…

Initially it is expected Project Kangaroo will deliver programming to computers via broadband but the ultimate aim is to deliver it direct to televisions.

The report goes onto suggest that a PC-less version of the service could be achieved through the future availability of broadband-enabled Freeview boxes. In other words, viewers could buy an upgraded free-to-air set-top-box which also has Internet connectivity — enabling a live terrestrial stream and on-demand video via the Internet.

Such a service would compete with cable, satellite and telco offerings, but also with newer Internet TV startups such as Joost and Babelgum.

paidContent also notes that all three television networks already have (0r are planning) broadband on-demand services of their own.

Channel 4’s has proved successful, ITV’s is in the process of rolling out along with a new website and the BBC’s iPlayer, while it will ultimately be the most full-featured, is not due to launch until later this year. Marrying the different strategies could prove difficult.

Also, for BBC to be involved would likely require the public broadcaster to seek permission from the regulatory body, Ofcom.

Related post: Joost’s new CEO points to a set-top-box future

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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