The Competition Commission has published the undertakings from the partners in Project Kangaroo, just as US rival Hulu looks set to enter the UK market.
In February the Commission ruled that the BBC Worldwide-ITV-Channel 4 venture was likely to result in a lessening of competition. The broadcasters have each agreed that they will not acquire control of any of the others’ video-on-demand activities. Directors or managers will also be prohibited from taking any directorship or managerial position that would give them control of their former partners’ VOD services. The undertakings will remain in place for five years.
Hulu now looks likely to launch a UK service in the autumn, possibly as soon as September, with a mix of UK and US acquired content. The NBC-Fox-Disney online TV portal’s concept is similar to that proposed by Kangaroo and vetoed by the Competition Commission in that the majority of content will be ad supported through pre-roll advertising and other commercial opportunities.
At a time when the UK television advertising market is struggling, there are likely to be some sore heads among the former Kangaroo partners, even if their content is as expected subsequently found on Hulu.
Earlier this week, Orange rejected an offer to purchase the technology that would have powered the Kangaroo service.