British Channels Team Up in TV-on-Demand

The BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 will jointly develop an on-demand online media service, to start in '08, for content from all three

BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 have got together to develop a joint on-demand online media player which will play content from all three.

The project -- currently named Kangaroo -- is pencilled in for launch at some point during 2008.

The service will provide more than ten thousand hours of content, which can be streamed or downloaded and other broadcasters are being encouraged to join the partnership.

The service will be a mixture of free and paid-for content, as well as programming sponsored by advertising.

Although the BBC launched its iPlayer service in July and ITV and Channel 4 both have their own on-demand services, Kangaroo is intended to complement these with the addition of archived content.

The broadcasters will share the costs of developing Kangaroo as well as their experience of the on-demand market gained through iPlayer, and 4OD.

Chief executive of BBC Worldwide, John Smith said the service is a "historic partnership", with the broadcasters "taking control of our destiny in a market that's moving at a fast pace".

Michael Grade, executive chairman of ITV, said the service has the potential to become an important shop window for UK content and will play a significant role in delivering ITV's online revenue targets.

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan added the broadcaster wants to give viewers "ultimate control" over what they watch and believes the joint venture is the best way of achieving this.

The plans are subject to approval by the Beeb's independent governing body, the BBC Trust, while a name and brand will be revealed prior to its launch.

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