Was the Kangaroo A Red Herring?

Nigel Walley – Feb 2009 –

There is currently a huge fuss over the regulatory demise of Kangaroo (the online TV joint venture betbetween channel 4, ITV and BBC Worldwide!  But there is a school of thought which says it might have been a complete irrelevance. Two reasons: 80% of VOD use at the moment is catch-up (ie programmes from the last seven days) and, apart from Channel 4, the broadcasters were keeping catch up for their own sites.  This position was further undermined in the last few months by the BBC iPlayer team’s decision to also ‘series stack’ (God this industry is full of jargon!!) .  This means, as an example, if they have a 6 part drama being broadcast, then they will keep all six episodes available in iPlayer catch-up for thirty days after the last episode has been transmitted.  This robbed the concept of some of its most attractive catch-up content.  Without catch up, you are left with lots and lots of archive TV, whose relevance and attractivness has yet to be proven apart from some very niche audiences. (Yes there will always be a tiny number of wombats who want to watch all those old Red Dwarf episodes).

Secondly, there is a big doubt over the long term relevance of PC VOD, in a world where TV VOD is rolling out. In Virgin homes in the UK, where they have TV VOD, the use of the PC variety is negligible. People have got everything they need on the big screen in the lounge.  As TV VOD rolls out further with the launch of Sky VOD in last quarter 09 / first quarter 10, the desire for archive TV delivered to a PC screen will just diminish.  The allure of all those ZCars episodes just won’t be enough to drive traffic!

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