Kangaroo Goes Gentle Into That Good Night

06 February 2009

LONDON: Despite Dylan Thomas' passionate urging, video-on-demand service Project Kangaroo has opted to 'go gentle into that good night', its exit more akin to a lamb than a lion.

Following the project's thumbs-down by Britain's Competition Commission earlier this week, Kangaroo's strangely submissive sponsoring trio – BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 – have decided not to appeal the decision.

Their apparent acceptance of the Commission's judgment has raised more than a few eyebrows, some observers believing that a robust challenge might well have been upheld.

But as the old proverb has it: 'There are more ways than one of skinning a cat.' And the trio's apparent acceptance of the ruling suggests to mischievous minds around the media parish pump that there may well have been a behind-the-scenes trade-off.

A closet deal could fend-off a sustained anti-Kangaroo campaign by the Murdoch press, whose proprietor has a vested interest in VoD services via his control of UK satellite monopoly BSkyB.

It seems that the trio will now have meetings with Commission chairman Peter Freeman and his acolytes to investigate whether Kangaroo's technology can be put to other uses. Also to test the limits of the boundaries that have been set.

In particular, the partners want to know if two of the original three broadcasters would be allowed to cooperate on a VoD project using Kangaroo technology? Or whether the Kangaroo-proof fence will bar a similar initiative even in a restricted form?

Such a compromise could pave the way for the three broadcasters to share the BBC's iPlayer technology.

Data sourced from telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff