September 15, 2008
Project Kangaroo, the online video service from BBC, ITV and C4, is under investigation by the Competition Commission and broadcasters such as BSkyB and Virgin Kangaroo is now likely to allow other online services to show catch-up TV, the most popular shows for on-demand viewing. ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC will retain the rights to syndicate programmes up to 30 days after transmission.
Such a gesture would demonstrate Kangaroo takes criticism seriously and is open to compromise. But Chris Goodall, of Enders Analysis told the FT: "They wanted to be the Google of UK video-on-demand," said Mr Goodall. "This step makes it less likely that they will be able to achieve the monopoly profit that they had hoped to. But it may not be enough to satisfy the competition authorities."
Pact, the independent producers' association, wants Kangaroo to make its entire library available to other on-demand services "at a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory price". "The market power of the broadcasters associated with Kangaroo in primary and secondary television is therefore likely to be extended into the video-on-demand market," Pact told the Commission. But Ashley Highfield, Kangaroo's chief executive, said their 70 per cent share of broadcast viewing would not transfer online. "British broadcasters face intense competition from powerful players in our market. Many of them have gained real competitive advantage by linking their video-on-demand services to brilliant pieces of hardware. No single UK broadcaster could compete with Apple, Microsoft and Sony." Google, owner of YouTube, was the only company to welcome Kangaroo in its submission to the Competition Commission.