Why Would Arqiva Want Project Kangaroo’s Remains?


Credit: Subhash

What’s left of Project Kangaroo is for sale, but who’s buying? Guardian.co.uk and Telegraph.co.uk both report, as others have previously, that broadcast and communications technology company Arqiva is in talks to buy what remains of aborted VOD VJ Project Kangaroo. The company wouldn’t confirm or deny the talks when we asked them on Wednesday — Kangaroo shareholders BBC Worldwide and ITV (LSE: ITV) are also giving “no comment”.

Arqiva runs the transmission of all UK terrestrial TV channels, owns DAB radio spectrum and hopes to raise an extra £3.7 billion in new business from the digital switchover project. France Telecom’s Orange, a successful multiplatform broadcaster and content provider, thought Kangaroo wasn’t worth investing in — so what makes Arqiva think it is?

Gatekeeper role?: Just as it’s the gatekeeper of terrestrial and Freeview signals for broadbcasters, Arqiva could set itself up as a similar facilitator for online video, joining Brightcove and all the other video platforms as a solution for online publishers, broadcasters seeking a better quality players. But this would be something of an irony: in its submission to the BBC’s proposed Canvas open IPTV standard project, concerned of its position as the main Freeview infrastructure provider, Arqiva warned against the corporation becoming a TV “gatekeeper” and deciding what products and services people could receive through their TVs.

Expertise lacking: Online video is a crowded market and while Arqiva’s knowledge of digital broadcast signal distribution is unrivaled in the UK, does the company really have experts in online video? A document from Arqiva (pdf) accompanying an analyst meeting in 2008 goes into great depth on the business’s complex assets — but there’s no mention of online publishing or VOD.

DAB purchase: One thing Arqiva is buying is the remaining is the Digital 1 DAB radio complex from GCap — a move first announced in April but officially rubber-stamped today.

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