UK’s ‘Hulu’ Kangaroo Delayed By Anti-Trust Inquiry

In the UK, the launch of the “Kangaroo” VOD JV between BBC Worldwide, ITV (LSE: ITV) and Channel 4 faces significant delay after the government’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the partnership to the independent Competition Commission for a broader, six-month investigation in to possible market dominance issues. The online platform will pool TV programming from the broadcasters, allowing them to both charge for and place ads on the shows. Joost, Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) and News Corp’s (NYSE: NWS) BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) had submitted to the initial OFT inquiry, after which the body acknowledged there are plenty of VOD alternatives but concluded there was insufficient evidence that Kangaroo wouldn’t strangle the market with high prices.

The JV, whose new CEO starts work tomorrow, has conceded it is “unlikely to launch on the previously anticipated timetable” and ITV executive chairman Michael Grade lashed out against US dominance: “There is a serious problem with a regulatory framework that seems unable to take the most important interest into account – that of British viewers. This venture has been delayed by a reference to the Competition Commission, at the very same time that non-UK companies like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) are free to build market dominating positions online in the UK without so much as a regulatory murmur.” Full story at paidContent:UK