James Murdoch, chief exec of BSkyB, has attacked the BBC iPlayer service, claiming that it is stifling competition. Speaking at the Marketing Society annual lecture in London, Murdoch called out the BBC trust – the corporation’s governing body – accusing it of an “abrogation of responsibility”.
Answering in a Q&A session, he described the iPlayer as “a big step, a pre-emptive intervention in a marketplace otherwise hugely competitive and moving very fast”. “I’m not saying it’s a bad product, but I am saying that it does crowd out competition and innovation,” he added.
The BBC has responded to these criticism, saying that the iPlayer service has been subject to a market impact assessment, regulation by Ofcom and been given a public value test. The Beeb has previously expressed surprise at the popularity of the £130m service which provided over 17.5m downloads in less than three months since its launch.
So correct me if I’m wrong here: Mr Murdoch is basically saying that because the BBC iPlayer has been so successful at providing innovation in the market for online TV content, it is in fact cramping innovation in the market for online TV content.
Some might just call that ‘raising the benchmark’. Furthermore, the iPlayer is only ever going to be able to show BBC programming, so surely there is space for commercial TV networks to provide a similar service of their own. In fact Channel 4’s 4OD and Sky’s Anytime service show that some already do – they just seem to be having trouble getting round the part where they charge for a service that even a twenty year old video recorder and some forethought could provide
Sky (via Telegraph)