A picture of a kangaroo sign at stuart higway.
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Ok, so it had been looking unlikely for a while, but the UK’s answer to the US’s Hulu, the Kangaroo Player, never made it off the ground, struck down as it was by the Competition Commission. A Kangaroo court in itself? Plenty of people on the tech side of things certainly are unimpressed with the decision to deem this nascent Video on Demand service for the BBC, Channel Four and ITV unfair.

There’s certainly reason to believe that part of the reason it was deemed ‘unfair’ was down to Sky and Virgin’s complaints. Would it have been unfair to the UK consumer? I’m not so sure. The BBC, C4 and others were clubbing together, to the detriment of other content producers who were frozen out, and was therefore unfair, claimed the Competition Commision and the Telegraph’s Ian Douglas,  amongst others.

So why can we not have one platform where everyone is allowed on? Let Sky and Virgin on if they want. They produce nothing of value anyway (maybe they’re scared of being found out?). Besides, as a mac user, I’m sick of not being able to use 4OD. One portal with functionality for all – meaning both users and providers know what technology will work, is good news for the consumer, not bad news. Bad news kind of feels like going back to square one and waiting some more, when time and money had already gone in to Kangaroo.

But in the end it kind of leads you to think; seeing as the iPlayer kicks such serious arse, why can it not be shared? It was paid for by the public, it works marvellously, and mac and linux users are not squeezed out – perhaps as a basis, at least? Please?

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  1. Ian Douglas says:

    Thanks for the link.

    On the single platform, there’s nothing in the decision to stop it. I get annoyed by being blocked from 4oD on my Mac too. It was the single syndication bargaining unit that the Competition Commission objected to, rightly in my view. Building a more open version of the iPlayer that other content creators can feed into has been talked about for some time. Let’s see now if ITV and Channel 4 really want a one-stop-shop, or if they just wanted to be in on a rights-holding monopoly.

  2. billcode says:

    I guess my point was that it is an annoyance at best to have such a delay. I’m sure they just saw the ‘monopoly’ aspect as a bonus – albeit a very nice one. Ian, do you know what stage the development was at on the technical side of things? I’ve found it quite hard to find that out.

  3. Ian Douglas says:


    There had been a lot of design work but I don’t think final standards had been agreed. It was by no means a finished technical project, just waiting for permission. I think the only thing that they all definitely signed up to was the rights cartel.

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