iPlayer and Kangaroo
I believe that it is much better for the BBC, ITV and C4 to have a say in a distribution service rather than leave it just to the likes of Joost or Babelgum to own the relationship with our audiences after the public service window. Better for our audiences too, as more money will return to the BBC from ad revenues to be invested into new programming.
I believe Kangaroo (only a working title), is complementary, and quite different, from BBC iPlayer.
BBC iPlayer offers a totally free seven-day catch up service (which very soon will offer streaming as well as downloading) to UK licence fee payers, with no advertising. It will soon also incorporate the highly successful BBC Radio Player (Kangaroo is video only).
BBC iPlayer is all about universality, so there will be versions for Mac & Linux (whatever you've heard to the contrary). We can and will cross-promote to the seven day catchup service on BBC iPlayer from our TV channels and radio stations. iPlayer will, in turn, provide an important route into Kangaroo content.
And one of the biggest differences is that iPlayer offers a rolling seven day window of some 400 hours (and rising) of the latest BBC programming, whereas Kangaroo will offer some 10,000 (and rising) hours in a permanent database of programmes.
Perhaps the most important distinction, though, is that BBC iPlayer is a part of bbc.co.uk, the UK's third most popular website; and iPlayer isn't just a stand-alone application - it will provide a single, consistent user experience for the majority of streamed programmes (video and audio) on bbc.co.uk. It will also be embedded into our partners' offers, such as Virgin Media cable TV service, telegraph.co.uk, and many others.
It's critical that we engage with all UK licence fee payers, wherever they are and however they consume our services. And it's critical that those services are not detrimentally disintermediated by other platforms and gateways - audiences must be aware that they are watching or listening to programmes and services from the BBC: in other words, that we have a deepening, direct relationship with them which is increasingly two-way.
That way we can guarantee the quality of the experience, learn more about what our audiences like (and don't like), in order to keep the BBC relevant in their increasingly digital lives.
To use an analogue metaphor: If BBC iPlayer is like BBC TV, Kangaroo is more like UKTV. There is space for both: indeed, they're complementary.
Ashley Highfield is Director, BBC Future Media and Technology.