Britain's Online Video-on-Demand Alliance is 'Restrictive'

04 December 2008

LONDON: Britain's Competition Commission has ruled that Project Kangaroo – an online video-on-demand joint venture between ITV, Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide – would curtail competition in the consumer video marketplace.

Says Peter Freeman, the Commission's chairman: "We are concerned that the loss of rivalry between BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, who are normally regarded as close competitors, could restrict existing and future competition for video-on-demand."

The Commission proposes a number of changes to Kangaroo, which now go out for consultation.

These include making "material modifications" to the structure of the joint venture, including limiting the terms of exclusivity between it and its partner companies or the scope of its activities. The way content is offered to other providers could also be controlled.

Provided these modification are implemented, the Commission concludes that "the venture would not substantially lessen competition for online advertising or content acquisition.  

BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 said they "welcome" the commission's recognition that UK video-on-demand has "much to offer". 

The trio's statement adds: "We will continue to make the case for a service that will be both in vast majority free and non-exclusive, and of great benefit and value to British consumers." 

It adds that the Commission's suggested remedies are "not an exhaustive list" but a starting point for discussion.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff