The UK's Competition Commission has blocked the proposed Project Kangaroo initiative, a joint venture between broadcasters BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 to pool their catch-up TV content online, deeming the project too much of a threat to competition in the UK video on demand market.
The Competition Commission - which looked at possible remedies to this threat to competition in an interim report last December, including stopping the partners from joint selling prime catch-up TV content - ruled that none of the proposed remedies went far enough. "After detailed and careful consideration, we have decided that this joint venture would be too much of a threat to competition in this developing market and has to be stopped," said Peter Freeman, Chairman of the Competition Commission in its final report on Project Kanagaroo.
"BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 together control the vast majority of this [UK-originated] material, which puts them in a very strong position as wholesalers of TV content to restrict competition from other current and future providers of video-on-demand services to UK viewers," said Mr. Freeman. "We thought viewers would benefit from better video-on-demand services if the parties – possibly in conjunction with other new and/or already established providers of VOD – competed with each other."
A statement from all three joint venture partners expressed "disappointment" in the decision: "We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture," they said. "While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting."