In a move likely to hold up the launch of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4's joint archive video-on-demand service, until recently touted for later this year, the project, codenamed Kangaroo, has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading. The Commission is expected to report by 14 December into whether there will be a "substantial lessening of competition within any market... for goods or services including the syndication of content rights for video on demand services in the UK". Both BSkyB and Virgin Media had raised concerns about Kangaroo to the OFT.
Meanwhile, "non-UK companies like Google and Apple are free to build market-dominating positions online in the UK without so much as a regulatory murmur", argued ITV's executive chairman Michael Grade. "Companies who financially contribute virtually nothing to the UK creative economy are trying to use a narrow regulatory remit to exploit our investment at little or no cost to themselves. If they succeed, the losers will be UK viewers, UK advertisers and UK producers," he continued.
The anticipated joint venture would have brought together content from all three broadcasters, with the BBC's newly-revamped iPlayer continuing to exist within the new site and 4oD "migrating" to Kangaroo. It's thought the content would be a mixture of catch-up programming and free-with-advertising, pay-to-rent, pay-to-own and possibly subscription-based archive material, and would also allow transfer to portable media players.
A joint statement from BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 said that while they were disappointed, they "remained committed to what the venture offers."