After Kangaroo : What Now For The UK Commercial VoD Market?

Everybody else it seems, apart from the competition commission, agreed that project Kangaroo, the commercial joint venture in the UK VoD market between three of the biggest broadcasters, was going to be a game changer, in a positive way.

Now that the competition commission has essentially killed it, there are several possibilities left for the former partners including the (remote) possibility of reviving Kangaroo under another name and with significantly less aggressive set of features, having an archive-only Kangaroo with newer content restricted to their own websites or using a third party platform.

The demise of Kangaroo reminds us of the defunct ITV Digital/ONDigital with the main difference that Sky, instead of the BBC, was the partner. The death of ONDigital lead the way to Freeview and the 42.3 percent marketshare that it currently commands.

The crucial aspect of any future grand commercial VoD Joint venture is that, ironically, it should not be presented as such in order not to cause concern amongst rivals. This probably caused the downfall of Kangaroo Mk One, that and the fact that it was exclusive - catering only for UK content and excluding de facto competing rivals like Five or Sky.

You don't have to look far to see another joint venture that worked perfectly well. Freesat, the digital satellite television provider and a 50/50 partnership between BBC and ITV was launched only in May 2008 but did manage to sell more than 200,000 in the last quarter of2008.

So it means that the BBC could possibly step in and accelerate the development of its next generation P2P platform Tribler, which was announced almost one year ago.

Tribler is supposed to be an open source media delivery mechanism and has already received significant financial backing from the European Union which shields it temporarily from any budgetary cuts.

The BBC could eventually create an ecosystem where content providers voluntarily provide their content and are allowed to collect revenues from longtail viewings; a bit like of a pro version of Youtube. The Beeb has already trialled this kind of non-exclusive content partnership with the Telegraph Media Group.

The death of Kangaroo will also pave the way for the invasion of foreign video on demand services like Hulu which may debut sometimes in 2009. Paidcontent even suggests that Hulu could replace Kangaroo altogether, which the website suggest, would be ironic since "one Joint Venture could effectively swoop in and pick up the pieces of a JV blocked on competition grounds".