ITV, Channel 4 and Five have launched a joint action against the online streaming service TVCatchUp. Coming on the eve of the football World Cup the timing of the move should not be under-estimated, particularly when ITV will be promoting live streaming of its share of the matches from South Africa.
The BBC, which has taken action against other online streaming services including Zattoo, is also understood to be in correspondence with TVCatchUp.
Online streaming services have claimed they are legally entitled to distribute content from free-to-air broadcasters, without agreement, under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act. But the means of funding, inserting pre-roll advertisements every time a user changes channel, has always provided the potential to have the broadcasters phoning their lawyers.
As the PSBs have pulled together their own strategies for the online dissemination of their content, the online streamers have looked increasingly under threat.