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Orange may adopt Kangaroo online TV tech

The French-owned company has confirmed it is in talks to acquire the technology behind the online on-demand TV venture known as 'Project Kangaroo'
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Orange is in talks to acquire the technology platform developed for the Kangaroo online on-demand TV service.

Project Kangaroo started life in 2007 as a joint venture between BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and ITV but was subsequently given the red light by the Competition Commission earlier this year due to fears that it would put too much control of the online TV market into the hands of the broadcasters.

However, it soon emerged that the technology developed for the project could be reused if done in a way that complied with the Competition Commission's ruling.

An Orange spokesman confirmed to ZDNet UK's sister site, silicon.com, that the French-owned company is in talks with the companies that formed the joint venture to acquire the technology behind Kangaroo.

Orange's parent company, France Telecom, said in a statement: "We can confirm that we are looking at this project. Whilst it could be interesting, nothing has yet been decided."

Orange is not the only player potentially interested in Kangaroo's technology.

A BBC Worldwide spokeswoman told silicon.com: "Some very valuable digital assets were developed for Project Kangaroo and we're talking to various parties who are interested in acquiring them."

A spokeswoman for ITV added: "We are running a sales process for the technology which is essentially the platform that we developed. We have got some people interested in looking at that."

The ITV spokeswoman added that the sales process will be in line with the Competition Commission's ruling. "We're still working with the [Competition Commission] in terms of some of the undertakings in the [joint venture] to make sure that the process is compliant with those undertakings," she said.

France Telecom has previously said it has put plans to launch a full digital TV service on hold in the UK due to the economic climate and "evolving regulatory environment" — suggesting the technology could potentially be used abroad.

Consumer product strategy analyst at Forrester Research, Nick Thomas, told silicon.com: "What looks interesting is that [Orange is] effectively looking to roll out the technology in France which is a much more mature IPTV market. It may be that the end result of Project Kangaroo will end up delivering video in markets outside the UK."

Thomas added that it is likely a number telcos would be keen to use the technology if it can provide a service comparable to the BBC's iPlayer.

"One would have thought there would be other ISPs around Europe who would be considering whether this would be better than the technology they've either invested in themselves or are thinking of investing in," Thomas said.

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