Feeds

Commercial iPlayer faces anti-trust shakedown

BBC, ITV, C4 joint venture delayed

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Project Kangaroo, the commercial on-demand web TV service being developed by BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, will be investigated by the Competition Commission amid concern that it could stifle rival online efforts.

The probe will run for up to 24 weeks, and could mean the joint venture is forced to supply competing services with content at capped prices. ITV said today the launch of the "one stop shop" for UK online TV would be delayed by the Competition Commission's evidence gathering.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today referred Project Kangaroo to anti-trust scrutineers following submissions from Sky and Virgin Media. They argued that the three main terrestrial broadcasters could use their public service programme making subsidies to unfairly dominate the TV audience and advertisers on the web.

The OFT agreed that Project Kangaroo's exclusive access to publicly funded TV warrants further investigation. The Competition Commission will look at whether "the concentration of these important and competing libraries of UK TV programming may give market power to the joint venture".

In its statement, the OFT speculated that Project Kangaroo might be able abuse that power to inflate prices and restrict how consumers are able to access shows online.

ITV chairman Michael Grade criticised the OFT's decision. "While I understand that the Office of Fair Trading is carrying out its statutory obligations," he said in a statement, "there is a serious problem with a regulatory framework that seems unable to take the most important interest into account - that of British viewers".

"This venture has been delayed by a reference to the Competition Commission, at the very same time that non-UK companies like Google and Apple are free to build market-dominating positions online in the UK without so much as a regulatory murmur."

He charged that ITV, the BBC and Channel 4's broadcasting rivals were trying to piggyback on their investment in web TV while contributing virtually nothing to the UK's creative economy.

When Project Kangaroo does eventually emerge it'll be run by the BBC's departing new media chief Ashley Highfield, reportedly under the monicker "SeeSaw". Don't expect it to surface until 2009. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.