Microsoft is reportedly holding talks with the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV to launch an Internet TV service that could see Project Kangaroo resurrected under the MSN brand.
Speaking to Revolution, Ashley Highfield, who was with the BBC and then Kangaroo before becoming Microsoft’s UK managing director, confirmed that the computer giant is working on plans for its own VOD offering. “I am in conversation with broadcasters and content providers to see what Microsoft could do by partnering in this area,” he said. The planned initiative forms part of Highfield’s strategy to reinvent MSN as the web’s leading content portal by boosting the amount of audio-visual content across the site. “We need to work with broadcasters as equal partners and make sure they get full accreditation without trying to slap the MSN brand on top and take too much credit.”
Highfield believes the Competition Commission’s decision to block Project Kangaroo has left the online video market wide open, providing a significant opportunity for Microsoft and he has already met with Project Kangaroo’s stakeholders about picking up the pieces. “It would be really bad news for the market if the decision to block Kangaroo were to cause a long-term hiatus and take away the impetus that the iPlayer generated in moving long-form video consumption to the web,” he says.