ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has launched a stinging attack on companies who believe the proposed online TV service Kangaroo is in breach of competition rules. Speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild he invited them to join the commercial broadcaster in the production of original content.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation about Kangaroo and in the normal course of events you want to get your point of view across to people who complain or raise objections,” said Grade. “But for people who don’t invest a halfpenny in British content, to complain about it seems to me a bit rich, maybe they’d like to put some money in to the British production sector then maybe they can have a say. But to expect us to make all the investment, take all the risks, and then hand it all over to them, why should we?”
Kangaroo, backed by ITV, BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 will be largely advertising supported and include catch-up TV from the past 30 days, older broadcast material and movies, all delivered from a single website. Its proposals are currently before the Competition Commission with a decision expected in February.
The bulk of the criticism has come from VOD providers including Virgin Media, BT and Tiscali. However while Joost came out against Kangaroo, the Google-owned YouTube has been supportive.
Grade said that there was no reason as to why ITV should give its content away to third party. “We live in a dream world in this country, where you can win through regulation and politics what you can’t win commercially.” He said when it came to programming broadcasters were taking 100% of the risk. “If Virgin want to invest £250 million a year in our content, or if anyone else does, come and have a conversation”