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Channel 4, ITV Want Single Web TV Standard, But Will Five In To One Go?

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Internet TV is beginning to motor in the UK, this FT.com article points out, but Channel 4 and ITV have called for a single standard to unite disparate efforts. C4 CEO Andy Duncan tells FT.com: “I think we do need to have a standard for the industry, a way that everyone uses TV content on the internet that is common to all providers and platforms … I think it will take about five years, maybe 10, but it is needed and it will come.” ITV consumer division CEO Jeff Henry: “It has to happen because what we are talking about here is not money as much as volume. Cash follows volume and it is just a question of when and how it happens.”

It’s a significant first stab at standardising web TV – each major broadcaster now offers some such service but viewers are greeted with a plethora of different consumption methods. BBC iPlayer, 4OD and Sky Anytime downloads are each powered by Kontiki P2P distribution software, a downloadable application, while ITV.com streams free live and catch-up programming through a player embedded on its website and Five retails downloadable videos via its site. Indeed, writing a unification platform could fire a new development race in itself. According to a June report, broadcasters have already held talks on such issues, labeled “Project Kangaroo”. In reality, there is a different business model behind each network’s efforts, and any single gateway to all the channels will have its work cut out uniting the rivals.