TV rivals band together for on-demand service

From Colin Mann in London

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are to launch a joint on-demand service, which will bring together hundreds of hours of television programmes in one place. The service is set to go live in 2008 and will offer viewers access to current shows and archive material.

Plans will have to be approved by the BBC Trust and the other broadcasters’ boards for the service currently under the working title of 'Kangaroo'.

Programming from all three broadcasters will be available for free download, streaming, rental and purchase via the Internet, with expansion on to other platforms planned.

The BBC’s iPlayer, ITV’s catch-up service and Channel 4oD will continue to exist along the new online merger, which will provide a complement to the established providers.

Michael Grade, ITV’s executive chairman, described the project as having the potential to become “an important shop window for UK broadcaster content and a great destination for viewers”.

John Smith, CEO of BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm told delegates at the PricewaterhouseCoopers European Media Leaders Summit in London that with the arrival of a range of video sharing sites, broadcasters risked being disintermediated.

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