Feeds

Commercial iPlayer faces anti-trust shakedown

BBC, ITV, C4 joint venture delayed

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.