‘German Hulu’ Blocked For Being Anti-Competitive

Germany’s Bundeskartellamt competition authority has objected to plans by RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 (FRA: PSM) to form an online video on demand joint venture.

The two German broadcasters had wanted to pool their shows in a single VOD destination, like Hulu is operated and contains material from NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA), Fox and ABC.

But, after an investigation, the Bundeskartellamt’s preliminary conclusion is that the JV “would further strengthen the existing dominant duopoly between the two broadcasting groups on the market for TV advertising”.

It conceded that “benefits resulting from an increased range of video-on-demand offers and a simplified navigation through contents would only outweigh the negative effects for competition if the platform was open and purely technical – the participating companies, however, were not willing to open the platform to this degree”.

C21 reports RTL as protesting the JV would be “open” to others and that it is considering taking legal action against the Bundeskartellamt.

The German story is familiar to anyone who followed the development of Project Kangaroo, the commercial VOD JV which BBC Worldwide, ITV (LSE: ITV) and Channel 4 had wanted to form but which the UK’s Competition Commission had prohibited before launch. Its technology was later acquired by Arqiva, which launched SeeSaw.

Hulu had awaited the Kangaroo verdict before attempting to make a move in to the UK, something which has so far fallen flat regardless.