Marsupial TV

Today we have a guest blogger: Jupiter’s new European Media Analyst Nick Thomas writes about Project Kangaroo…


Now there’s an idea. The major terrestrial broadcasters in the UK are joining forces for a broadband version of Freeview, aka Project Kangaroo. Could this be the catalyst for the still underdeveloped UK broadband TV market, by making already highly desirable longer-form content available to millions of broadband-enabled UK homes via one bit of software.

The initial buzz may be slightly abated by the grim prospect of Ofcom sharpening their pencils, but the massive take-up of the Freeview set-top box (8m+ users) has shown how the model can benefit a group of nominally rival broadcasters, not to mention the viewers.

Could this be a model for other European territories, where rival local broadcasters have much to gain from creating a generic new platform for broadband TV? Will the delivery networks be able to cope with millions of downloads – and will consumers put up with the inevitable delays? Or will the experience provided by the likes of Joost and Babelgum – where the content is viewable straight away – get there first? Will the broadcasters’ high quality content be more compelling than a better user experience?

Whatever, online video consumption is growing fast across all European territories, primarily via YouTube and local sites like DailyMotion creating new audiences for video content that is typically short-form and typically consumer-created. Is broadband the platform through which the “old” broadcasters engage with this new generation of video consumers (the vast majority of whom are under 35s)? Will the video habit currently fed by YouTube be ultimately a bridgehead to the delivery of professionally produced TV-style content via something like Project Kangaroo?

One element in any breakthrough moment like this is a killer device, a magic box that will open up a new kind of user experience. But with broadband TV, the answer is already here. Europe has millions of potential viewers who have not only the broadband connectivity, they also already have a personal, portable device capable of receiving, storing and playing longer-form video. Could the laptop be the future of TV?