BBC/ITV/C4 Hulu Online TV Alternative 'Doomed' by UK Regulators
Few people have heard of 'Project Kangaroo'. That's because the video-on-demand venture as a 'super-iPlayer' has still got a long way to go before its launch. Especially now that it's under scrutiny by the UK Competition Commission.
The joint venture from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, hopes to replicate the success of American video website Hulu. They also added a unique feature, hoping to launch Kangaroo with 10,000 hours of archive, and grow it over time. But under scrutiny of the UK Competition Commission, who ruled yesterday in a preliminary report that this would lead to a 'substantial lessening in competition' means that Kangaroo will now have to amend their plans by a December 24th deadline. A few suggested 'remedies' by the Commission include:
• Make sure Kangaroo offers content to third parties on a fair and reasonable basis
• Limit the amount of recent content that ITV and C4 can put on Kangaroo, as is proposed already with iPlayer
• Allow independent TV firms to retain rights to the programmes they make for BBC, ITV and C4 after an initial window of time on Kangaroo
• Prohibition - the most drastic option. The CC could kill off the whole venture but it would be radical. In similar cases, the CC often gave the green light eventually.
Most of these suggestions are out of fear that the service would create a substantial lessening of competition of video on demand in the UK.
Peter Freeman, the chairman of the commission, who headed the inquiry, said, "We are concerned a loss of rivalry between BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, who are normally regarded as close competitors, could restrict existing and future competition for video on demand.” The Guardian speculates that this decision may in fact doom the venture.
With 15% of internet traffic in the UK solely deriving from the BBC iPlayer due to its ability to provide a 'one-week on-demand catch-up' for those who missed a TV show at its original air time, this feature is becoming extremely in demand on both sides of the Atlantic. You can read the official documents from the Competition Commission here.