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Competition Commission talks on Project Kangaroo
Wednesday 03 December 2008 13:08:52 by Andrew Ferguson

The Competition Commission is having concerns over the alliance between BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel4 who are behind Project Kangaroo. The project is about the broadcasters working together to provide a paid for video on demand service once content has been removed from their various catch-up TV services.

The Competition Commission is involved since it is carrying out an investigation to ensure the alliance will not be too dominant to the extent that other commercial services would not be able to compete.

"The Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally concluded that the proposed video on demand (VOD) joint venture between the BBC through BBC Worldwide Limited (BBCW), ITV plc (ITV) and Channel Four Television Corporation (C4)—UKVOD, also known as ‘Project Kangaroo’—will restrict competition in the supply of VOD services in the UK."

Extract from Competition Commission press release

These findings are only preliminary, the commission has until February 2009 to publish its full findings, at which time it could recommend prohibition of the project, or simply a number of measures to ensure other services such as iTunes are not unfairly locked out of offering UK TV content.

The concern centres around the simple fact that since the broadcasters will already have been involved in rights discussions from the time a show was first conceived of, it is possible that terms could be built in that mean content is withheld from rivals even when they are willing to pay for it.

The fragile nature of physical media distribution has been highlighted with Woolworths going into administration along with their Entertainment UK arm. This part of Woolworths' was responsible for around 40% of CD's sold by Asda, WHSmith and Zavvi and has lead to Zavvi cancelling online orders. In light of this, the reduced costs of online distribution of content and the fact that unsold stock does not waste warehouse space will be looking more attractive to retailers.

The biggest danger for rights holders, is that if content is too expensive or difficult to get hold of in a format they want, people will simply revert to the myriad of free places that they can get material.

Comments

Posted by Pigmaster over 8 years ago
"The Competition Commission is involved since it is carrying out an investigation to ensure the alliance will not be too dominant to the extent that other commercial services would not be able to compete."

And just who are the "Other Commercial Services"?

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
itunes
tescos and other sites that do MP3 now but may do video downloads for money in the future
Posted by usenetz over 8 years ago
Is BBC Worldwide, (as opposed to the BBC), a "broadcaster", as this report asserts?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I think they are more likely refering to SKY when they state "other commercial services"
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm of the BBC, so not funded by licence fee and run broadcast operations like BBC America
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Andrew, Pinnacle has also gone too
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Shock of shock Sky have just announced a Live net service... Wow wasnt that a good guess i made LOL
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