The BBC, Channel 4 and ITV have confirmed that their long rumoured joint video on demand (VOD) service will go live next year.
The venture, dubbed ‘Project Kangaroo’, will operate independently of the three broadcasters and offer video content from a range of providers.
The companies were first reported to have started work on the project earlier this year, and intend it to sit alongside their own broadband TV offerings.
In a statement, the firms said the service would provide a mixture of catch-up TV and archive material, which users will be offered on a rental or buy-to-own basis.
Intially, the programming will be offered online, but talks have also taken place with the Digital Television Group, which operates Freeview, about having the software preloaded into set top boxes.
The companies added:
“By joining forces, the joint venture will access each broadcaster’s understanding and experience of providing on-demand content and will be an important player in a new and developing market.
“It will compete in the rapidly expanding online content space, where it will compete against a large and growing range of TV, film and other audio-visual content.”
John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, added:
“For some time we have wanted to form an alliance with other rights holders in the UK. By combining our joint resources we’re really taking control of our destiny in a market that’s moving at a fast pace.”
It’s an interesting development, and could be very popular if the service can be delivered to TV sets, putting it in competition with Virgin Media and Sky.