It would be easy for us to lapse into stereotypical Australian jokes about BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4's on-demand video service, which is code-named Kanagroo. So we will. Strewth Skippy, they've only gone and created a joint video on-demand service so Bruces and Sheilas can watch their favourite shows from the past and present online. Bonza!
Antipodean colloquial hilarity aside, this announcement is promising. Not long ago, NBC and Fox in the US announced that they would be partnering to provide one place where people could go to watch their shows, called Hulu. Now it seems that us Brits are going to get a similar service, with the best in current TV and some classic archive shows from the UK's biggest broadcasters.
The BBC is promising that, although Kangaroo is a BBC Worldwide venture -- read, not public service -- that content fromwill be available. This will be interesting, because there's a chance you'll have to pay for the BBC Worldwide content and that could create some problems for the Beeb with confused consumers who think they've already paid via the licence fee.
Interestingly, Kangaroo will be open for other broadcasters to join in the fun. So what starts with these initial few companies could become the Internet-distribution equivalent of over-the-air broadcasting. Even Sky could get involved, but as sport works best live, and almost everything else it shows is bought from the US, it seems unlikely at this stage.
Of course, there will be some sort of DRM, but the press release didn't like to bring us down from our on-demand entertainment high by mentioning it. It's reasonable to assume it will be Windows Media DRM, because that's what's in use on iPlayer andcurrently. -Ian Morris