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Ofcom decide against competition investigation into YouView
Tuesday 19 October 2010 09:17:02 by John Hunt

Ofcom have decided that there will be no investigation into the anti-competitiveness of Project Canvas (now known as YouView), the joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva which will offer on-demand and catch-up TV by using a broadband connection to deliver the viewers choice of programming to the Television.

Ofcom had received complaints from both Virgin Media and IPVision, later backed by BSkyB and 10 others which claimed that YouView breached the Competition Act. The main concerns related to the following:

  • The project partners are incentivised to withhold their content from other platforms
  • Technical standards had not been developed openly and there were not available for use outside the member companies
  • Use of the YouView brand is tied to a specific user interface and EPG (eletronic programming guide)
  • It is likely to restrict competition between TV platforms.

Ofcom felt it would be premature to open an investigation at this stage of the project's development as this is still an emerging sector so Ofcom is unsure how the market will react to YouView. It also believes that any benefits that this will bring to consumers will offset any harm to competition.

"Ofcom's view is that consumers' interests will not be served by opening an investigation. It would be premature at the current stage of YouView's development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm."

"But if evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate."

Ed Richards, (Chief Executive) Ofcom

Ofcom did not see any evidence that YouView would lead to content being withheld from other platforms but said it would keep content syndication policies from the involved companies under review. It also noted that a number of technical standards had been made available to the industry from the project. The regulator did not believe that the risk of tieing to a specific user interface would be sufficient to cause consumer harm.

YouView welcomed the decision from Ofcom.

"We have been clear throughout this process that YouView will stimulate competition in the TV platform market and create opportunities for content providers and device manufacturers. Most importantly it represents a great consumer proposition. We therefore welcome this decision from Ofcom."

"In a market dominated by pay services, we are creating the only mass market IPTV service that will be subscription free. All our efforts are now focused on launching a brilliant consumer product for launch next year. We look forward to broadening our engagement with wider industry partners over the coming weeks and months."

Richard Halton, (CEO) YouView

Comments

Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Good to see this is progressing, about time there was some decent competition to the increasingly dominant Sky and Virgin.

The irony of some of the grounds of complaint supported by Visgin and especially Sky is quite amazing! For example:

1. The project partners are incentivised to withhold their content from other platforms - remember the recent ruling from Ofcom before would wholesale Sky Sports?

Contd.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
2. Technical standards had not been developed openly and there were not available for use outside the member companies - are the Virgin or Sky boxes open?

3. It is likely to restrict competition between TV platforms - surely the opposite?

Roll on competition!
Posted by tedsloan over 6 years ago
Positive news for the public in this announcement. SKY and VM will have solid competition at long last and there is still GOOGLE TV to come.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Really can't wait for GoogleTV, really can't!
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
Or Apple TV.

What an appropriate change of name.
'YouView' .....I won't!
Posted by loadbang over 6 years ago
Google TV in my opinion will flop. Google seem to lack the vision and creativity, the products that are to be released are woeful.

Apple TV is restricted to Apple's DRM only video from the iTunes Store, or DVD's you have ripped yourself. It offers no on demand TV services in the UK.

Boxee have a decent solution, and soon to have the Boxee Box. Boxee are Youviews direct competitors.

Don't know why Virgin and BSkyB are complaining. They could easiliy make their own services.
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