Project Kangaroo gets blocked by Competition Commission

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Project Kangaroo, the new joint venture between UK broadcasters ITV and Channel 4, along with BBC Worldwide – the commercial arm of the BBC, has been blocked from launching the site, similar to Hulu (owned by NBC Universal and News Corporation) by the UK Competition Commission.

The venture was deemed to be a threat by the commission to the video-on-demand market in the UK. Channel 4, ITV and the BBC have their own video-on-demand sites, with the BBC’s iPlayer being more popular than the others because of its diverse content from all BBC TV and Radio channels.

The project was to be a “one-stop shop” for all content from the networks owned by the project backers, bringing together more than 10,000 hours of content from networks like BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1, Channel 4, More4, ITV2, BBC News and BBC Three.

The project, according to a report released in December by Enders Analysis, would have cost BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 more than £25 million in staff, development and programming rights costs.

Because of the recent decision made by the Commission, and that the project backers will not appeal the decision, up to 50 jobs will be lost. ITV’s executive chairman Michael Grade has said that it will now focus on continuing to build on its website, ITV.com.

A BBC spokesperson said that the BBC was “disappointed by today’s decision that prevents the partners taking Kangaroo forward.”

“However, we remain absolutely committed to delivering distinctive quality BBC programmes online and will continue to drive innovation through our successful iPlayer platform,” the spokesperson continued.

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