Arqiva ties down Kangaroo technology

The broadcast infrastructure operator has agreed to buy the hardware and software tech developed for the project, and plans to launch a video-on-demand service

Broadcast infrastructure operator Arqiva on Thursday confirmed plans to acquire the technology developed for Project Kangaroo.

Project Kangaroo, a collaboration between BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, was intended to develop a shared online on-demand TV service for the three organisations. It was shot down by the Competition Commission in February of this year, after the watchdog deemed it to be too much of a threat to competition, by placing too much control of content and distribution in the hands of the broadcasters.

Following the Competition Commission's decision, the future of the technology developed as part of Kangaroo was subject to much speculation, with Orange briefly linked to the project before the mobile operator decided to walk away. It now seems the money invested in developing the technology will not have been wasted and UK consumers could soon see a new rival to BBC iPlayer.

Arqiva — which owns and operates part of the UK's terrestrial TV infrastructure and is a spectrum licence holder — has now agreed to buy the hardware and software technology developed for the project along with the related intellectual property for Kangaroo.

The company is aiming to use the technology to launch a new video-on-demand service in "the coming months", with content likely to come from a range of content providers including the three broadcasters involved in the original joint venture.

The service will be a content aggregation service and will include free-to-air and paid-for content.

Under Project Kangaroo, the platform was close to being ready for market launch before the initiative was prohibited by the Competition Commission, according to the company.

Managing director for Terrestrial Broadcast at Arqiva, Steve Holebrook, said in a statement: "We believe that online video-on-demand is an exciting and complementary development, and a natural extension to our traditional broadcast business."

The acquisition of the technology is likely to be finalised within a few weeks.