OFT's grounds for Project Kangaroo merger reference

OFT decision (41 pages, PDF) to refer to the Competition Commission (under merger control legislation) the proposed Internet video-on-demand joint venture Kangaroo.

The putative joint venture partners are BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC), ITV and Channel 4. The BBC's non-commercial iPlayer and the commercial broadcasters catch-up services would be unaffected.

The OFT's decision is partly based on a view that BBC Worldwide would be launching a commercial video-on-demand service using BBC archived content even if the joint venture is blocked:

106. Given the quality, volume and potential value of the BBC archive, it does not seem plausible to the OFT that the BBC's archive content would not be commercialised in the near-term, particularly given the recent and ongoing activity by ITV and Channel 4 in this regard – a view [...] held by industry participants, and was not disputed by BBCW before the OFT.

The Competition Commission has an inquiry page. Its first deadline for submissions is Monday 21 July 2008.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under BBC, Media, Merger control, OFT.

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