Kangaroo Verdict: What’s It Mean, And Where Next?

The Competition Commission’s ruling to block Kangaroo outright will go down like a lead balloon with most people except rival VOD operators. What’s it really mean… ?

iPlayer has no long tail: BBC, ITV (LSE: ITV) and Channel 4’s existing VOD efforts for seven-day catch-up won’t now get the hoped-for on-ramp to monetise archive shows. ITV, which has been suffering commercially and pinned many hopes on profiting from Kangaroo ads and sales, will be most worried, but Channel 4 is suffering the same fate, too. The BBC has been steadily digitising its vast archives, but has now been denied the primary channel for this material.

Will Kangaroo be asset-stripped?: The venture formally launched in summer 2007, has 50 staff, a central London office and has been in development and, latterly, private beta testing throughout. The JV partners are sitting on a multi-million pound waste of money and, potentially, a big round of layoffs. Can it offset the lost investment by selling its technology? Hulu already has a web platform; it’s more interested in Kangaroo’s programming. Perhaps a BT (NYSE: BT) Vision or a BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) would sniff around Kangaroo’s carcass to beef up their own VOD plans?

The ruling flies in the face of Ofcom’s grand vision: The wind in UK public service broadcasting is blowing toward greater cooperation. Ofcom’s recent public service broadcast review highlighted the BBC’s offer to share iPlayer technology, video infrastructure and even raw material with ITV and Channel 4, to help the pair through commercial uncertainty. But the commission has killed one of the big hopes that this can actually extend to making money. What’s more, its ruling directly contradicts Ofcom’s suggestion, backed by Lord Carter’s Digital Britain and other ministers, that Channel 4 should form an alliance with BBC Worldwide. In Kangaroo, the two tried exactly that- and were thwarted.

Not necessarily a win for Joost et al: Orgs including Joost, Babelgum, BT Vision, Tiscali, Lovefilm backer Arts Alliance Media, ad body IPA and TV makers