Kangaroo Faces OFT Questions; Minor Inquiry

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is asking rival broadcasters their views on BBCWW/ITV/C4’s Kangaroo VOD joint venture, which isn’t even yet due for launch until August at the earliest, Brand Republic says (though there’s no sign of an announcement from the OFT). They are invited to submit their views by May 14 and the OFT will then determine whether to refer the plan to the Competition Commission. This move is very preliminary and doesn’t suppose that Kangaroo is anticompetitive. Indeed, BBC Worldwide said last week said it was making the referral itself, telling me: “We will be notifying the transaction to the OFT and seeking appropriate competition clearance.”

Though a Guardian comment piece last week raised the alarmist prospect of several threats to the JV on antitrust grounds, the Kangaroo consortium had, from the outset, stressed it wanted to be an open and welcoming platform. Channel Five is likely to come aboard later this year, though BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) seems to have decided to play its own game with its Sky Anytime service rather than join the party. Kangaroo probably approached many of the key UK TV players seeking their involvement at the start.