Sunday, July 26, 2009

That Was The Month That Was

July is proving an interesting month for the UK broadcasting and video market as companies change hands , focus and new enterants start to emerge.

First we saw the change of focus of Joost, which started with a fanfare , significant backing and support. Having been the driving force behind the groundbreaking Skype and Kazaa services, it looked like Joost’s founders could do nothing wrong. Alas reputation doesn’t guarantee success and this month Joost announced a reinvention refocus dropping its consumer video focus and reinvent itself as a business to business web-TV platform provider. The company had found it increasingly hard to stay afloat as a consumer-focussed independent ad-supported online video service.
Joost biggest problem was content, or the lack of great content and its model by the time it woke up.

to stream the video through web browsers it was too late as users had already gone elsewhere. Whether it will survive as a ‘white label’ service provider remains in question.

Project Kanageroo, a collaboration between BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 which was thwarted by the Competition Commission earlier this year and now has been acquired by Arqiva, which owns and operates part of the UK's terrestrial TV infrastructure and is a spectrum licence holder.

Argiva aims to use the technology to launch a new video-on-demand service with content likely to come from a range of content providers including the three broadcasters involved in the original joint venture.

Meanwhile Argiva face stiff competition from Hulu who continue to have discussions with UK broadcasters including ITV and Channel 4 and plans to launch in the UK later this year. Their offer is likely to include a significant amount of US content and would provide a one-stop shop for video on demand content.

The BBC's director general has suggested other broadcasters could share its iPlayer VOD service, which allows viewers to watch BBC shows online at a time of their choosing.

The BBC has revealed more detailed plans for, Canvas, its proposed joint venture with ITV and BT. It is now clear that what is envisaged is a platform and it intends to work with industry bodies such as the Digital Television Group, the European Broadcasting Union and the

Open IPTV Forum in defining appropriate standards. It is envisaged that Canvas will support a wide range of revenue options, including targeted advertising, micropayments and subscription and how these will be supported, including the approach to conditional access, digital rights management and billing.

The idea of a ‘box’ that combines broadcast and broadband delivered programmes with an intuitive interface is attractive to consumers. However, although the BBC has a role to play in establishing technical transmission standards, do they have the same role in designing the user experience of the box.

We envisage many more moves emerging, but the real test and answer lies in what the consumers decide to back.

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