After mentioning this most likely won’t happen back in December, it’s been confirmed today that the Competition Commission have vetoed the service, on the grounds that it could give the partners involved too much muscle over prices for their own content.
The service was intended to offer customers the chance to watch both free and paid programmes, similar to Sky’s Anytime service. The initial plan was to launch online, with access via televisions later, including the Freesat platform.
Peter Freeman, Commission Chairman, said;
After detailed and careful consideration, we have decided that this joint venture would be too much of a threat to competition in this developing market and has to be stopped.
The case is essentially about the control of UK-originated TV content. VOD is an exciting and fast-moving development in TV, which makes programmes previously broadcast available to viewers at a time of their choice. The evidence we saw showed that UK viewers particularly value programmes produced and originally shown in the UK and do not regard other content as a good substitute.
BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 together control the vast majority of this material, which puts them in a very strong position as wholesalers of TV content to restrict competition from other current and future providers of VOD services to UK viewers.
A statement was released by BBC Worldwide, ITV PLC and Channel 4, saying the decision was a “missed opportunity”. It said;
We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture. While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting.
What are your thoughts on this service? Do we really need an additional VOD service?