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Beeb and co offload failed Kangaroo platform

Arqiva to buy forsaken commercial TV web platform

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Telly networks BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 confirmed plans yesterday to ditch an unsuccessful attempt to provide a commercial internet TV service in the UK, by agreeing to sell the platform to Arqiva Ltd.

The Competition Commission kiboshed the trio's Kangaroo Project, which was based on the Beeb's iPlayer technology, in February this year. The antitrust watchdog ruled the three networks bankrolling it would have too much power in that market.

Winchester, England-based Arqiva said in a statement it expected the kit and caboodle (hardware, software, intellectual property) acquisition to complete within the next few weeks.

The firm, which owns and operates the UK's terrestrial TV infrastructure and holds licences of two of the six digital terrestrial TV multiplexes, added that the tech purchase would allow Arqiva to expand its business into the web TV market.

"Arqiva plans to use the Project Kangaroo platform assets to launch a new video-on-demand service to UK consumers in the coming months," it said.

"The platform will aim to host top-end quality content from leading broadcasters and independent content providers to provide a broad range of user experiences to its audiences."

Arqiva says that both free-to-air and pay content schemes will be offered.

BBC Worldwide, which is the commercial arm of Auntie, wrote off a hefty £9.1m of investment in the ill-fated Project Kangaroo in the year ended 30 April. ®

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