Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kangaroo blocked by Competition Commission

(By Richard Holway) Just been announced that Project Kangaroo has been blocked (other news items have said 'bounced') by the Competition Commission. Readers will recall that Kangaroo (see Dec 08 post - Whither Kangaroo?) was a JV between BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to bring iPlayer type VOD services to those other channels and provide a standard portal for users. The BBC's Ashley Highfield was to lead the project (he'd been the #1 person behind iPlayer) but clearly lost patience and has since joined Microsoft. See our 11th Nov 08 post - Kangaroo chief jumps ship.

Although I appreciate that the current JV partners would be very strong and could therefore block out competition from other players, it is a real shame as I, personally, would have welcomed this move - being an avid user of iPlayer. It's a conundrum. I doubt the iPlayer would ever have been created by 'competitive forces'. It was left to the BBC to pioneer this. Unless a way is found through this problem, I fear we will all suffer - in that we just won't get any decent VOD services at all other than from the BBC. That just doesn't make sense.

They should have allowed Kangaroo to get off the ground with the proviso of a review in a couple of years time.

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