‘UK Hulu’ Kangaroo Ruled Anti-Competitive; Back To The Drawing Board

Project Kangaroo, a Hulu-like UK VOD JV from BBC Worldwide, ITV (LSE: ITV) and Channel 4, would reduce competition and harm consumers, Britain’s anti-trust authority ruled Wednesday morning, even before the project has launched. The Competition Commission said the online unification of the UK’s three leading broadcasters would see them lock up the market for wholesale and retail VOD TV supply. It’s proposed either prohibiting Kangaroo, compelling the partners to fairly offer their VOD content to third parties or making changes to the way Kangaroo interacts with the broadcasters’ own websites.

Each of the the three broadcasters already offers free VOD catch-up of TV shows from the last seven days on their own websites. Conceived in 2007, Kangaroo would see them come together to offer shows from outside that window, either with ad support or as pay-to-download. Still without a confirmed name, though rumoured to be called “See-Saw”, Kangaroo has been in limbo for most of this year. Kangaroo referred itself to the UK’s junior Office Of Fair Trading in April for what it thought would be a minor inquiry, but the office referred it up to the Competition Commission, which will now work with the JV and rivals on possible solutions before its final February 8 deadline. Interim CEO Rod Henwood is in charge after Ashley Highfield’s sudden departure this month to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). Full story at paidContent:UK