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Competition Commission Blocks IPTV Project Kangaroo

Posted: 04th Feb, 2009 By: MarkJ
Project Kangaroo (UKVOD), the joint BBC, ITV and Channel4 broadband Internet TV (IPTV) / Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, has been dealt a fatal blow today. The Competition Commission (CC) has decided to block the service because none of the remedies proposed would have removed the threat to competition in the VOD market:

Peter Freeman, CC Chairman and Chairman of the inquiry group, said: "After detailed and careful consideration, we have decided that this joint venture would be too much of a threat to competition in this developing market and has to be stopped.

The case is essentially about the control of UK-originated TV content. VOD is an exciting and fast-moving development in TV, which makes programmes previously broadcast available to viewers at a time of their choice. The evidence we saw showed that UK viewers particularly value programmes produced and originally shown in the UK and do not regard other content as a good substitute.

BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 together control the vast majority of this material, which puts them in a very strong position as wholesalers of TV content to restrict competition from other current and future providers of VOD services to UK viewers. We thought the joint venture parties would have an interest in doing so, in order to make Project Kangaroo a success.
"

Broadcasters were quick to issue a joint statement, which warned that the only "real losers from this decision are British consumers."
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