BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and ITV are working on a combined on-demand TV service - codenamed 'Kangaroo' – which will offer "over 10,000 hours of quality entertainment content".
The service, which is subject to approval by the BBC Trust and each broadcaster's board, is set to go live in 2008 and is intended to offer a broad range of programming. The partners said Kangaroo will draw on the experience of the BBC's iPlayer, ITV.com and 4OD, with content available via streaming or download. Initially Kangaroo will launch as a web-based service and will be available for distribution on other platforms.
"This is a historic partnership between the UK's largest broadcasters. For some time we have wanted to form an alliance with other rights holders in the UK and give viewers an on-demand service with real added value," said John Smith, CEO of BBC Worldwide.
"The new service will contain some of the very best of the UK's content for consumers to view in one place, which will be both easy to use and great fun. By combining our joint resources we’re really taking control of our destiny in a market that’s moving at a fast pace."
The broadcasters said Kangaroo will include content from BBC iPlayer, while ITV.com will continue to feature a 30-day catch up facility alongside simulcasts of ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4. Channel 4's website will host a catch-up service, while 4oD will evolve into the new service.
"We believe this deal will lead to a major step change in the on-demand services offered by UK broadcasters and is good news for independents and the creative community, for advertisers and, above all, for viewers," said Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan.
Lesley MacKenzie, previously director of channels and operations at BSkyB, has been appointed as Kangaroo’s launch CEO.