BBC, ITV & Ch. 4 ask for more time to prove 'Kangaroo' is above board.

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British broadcasters and project ‘Kangaroo’ bed-buddies: the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, have been told by the commission in charge of their fair-competition inquiry that they have more time to get their facts straight.

The Competition Commission’s inquiry was due to begin on the 6th August, but like three lazy students, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have all begged for more time to prepare their case. And like a kindly avuncular professor, the Competition Commission has agreed to postpone the much anticipated inquest date until early September when it is hoped that all three big boys will have got their act in gear and gathered the relevant information they need to argue their case properly.

Now, for those of you (like me, 15 minutes ago) that don’t (didn’t) know what project ‘Kangaroo’ is.. here’s a quick run down of the facts:

1. The future of telly is on the web. S’a Fact. The Beeb knows it, ITV knows it, and Channel 4 are happy to go along on the journey, so long as they get ice-cream at the end of the trip.
2. The Beeb, ITV and Channel 4 formed a union under the peculiar project title of ‘Kangaroo’
3. ‘Kangaroo’s main objective is to provide a single platform TV-on-demand (VoD) service to broadband devices. Think iPlayer, but with Corrie and, er, Big Brother, on it too.

It’s a big deal. Individually, these broadcasters are heavyweights content-wise. Especially when you consider their mighty-meaty back-catalogues.. so, together.. Well.. lets just say this Kangaroo s’gonna be BIG. Currently their only real competition is iTunes, and Joost, and maybe a couple of other lame-o services. But simply put – they have the very real potential to become the UK VoD superstars and grind out every other competitor. Hence the stepping in of the watchdog.

One of the many independent public bodies which help ensure healthy competition between companies in the UK – the Competition Commission (CC) investigates all manner of corporate dealings in mergers, markets and regulated sectors to ensure that no funny business is done. Or any dodgy business either.

But the inquiry (and us) will have to wait ’til September now, when the investigation can (hopefully) proceed at full steam ahead. After that, we can expect the CC’s preliminary findings come mid-November, and a full, official report in January ’09.

On tenterhooks? Me too. I got goosebumps all over.

Related posts: What’s a ‘Kangaroo’? | ‘Kangaroo’ pipe problem

Ryan Weir