Thursday, 4 December 2008

Whither Kangaroo?

(By Richard Holway) Yesterday, the Office of Fair Trading ruled that the new Kangaroo video on demand JV between ITV, BBC and Channel 4 would ‘restrict competition'. See FT 4th Dec 08 – Regulators bring Kangaroo back down to earth.

I know I’m in a minority here, but as a massive iPlayer fan I think that the BBC has done more to make VoD the success that it is than any commercial player. Bringing all this content together with other suppliers in Kangaroo would have been welcomed by the general public (including me). The objection is that all this content should be made available to other platforms. But that just means that the Kangaroo’s revenue model wouldn’t work.

I’m all for competition. But I’m all for innovation and advancing the user experience too. If the BBC had bowed to competition concerns and pressures in the past, we wouldn’t have the superb on line experience we enjoy today. Likewise, I think the OFT’s decision will just stifle innovation.

Let’s hope they can all come to a sensible compromise in the two weeks allowed for alternate submissions.

Footnote – As I reported a month back – Kangaroo chief jumps ship - Ashley Highfield who was behind the iPlayer at the BBC was to be the CEO of Kangaroo. But ‘jumped ship’ to Microsoft in Nov 08.

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