YouView Escapes Ofcom Inquiry Because It’s Not Breaking Any Rules Yet

Ofcom says it won’t investigate the YouView connected-TV JV under the UK’s Competition Act – essentially on the grounds that it’s not anti-competitive because it hasn’t launched yet and because few details are available on exactly how it will behave.

The media regulator said YouView’s market impact “will not be known with any confidence for some time” and “the impact on content syndication is difficult to determine with any confidence at this point“. But: “It is likely that YouView will bring benefits to viewers and consumers.”

Today’s statement (in full below) is a response to complaints from Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) and IP Vision, the former of which grumbled that, were it not for the imposition of a common user interface across YouView devices, it would join the system…

Ofcom rejected these UI concerns, saying commonality will bring consumer benefits and that competitors have ample opportunity to bring alternative UIs to market.

YouView is a JV of the BBC, ITV (LSE: ITV), Channel 4, Channel 5, BT (NYSE: BT), TalkTalk and Arqiva to harmonise standards in connected TV, and is now due to start pitching its platform to content owners in the next few weeks and start naming its first such partners, ahead of a planned launch on to devices in 2011…

Ofcom announced today that it will not open an investigation into