Babelgum Wants Kangaroo Prohibited; Deadline Looming


Web video service Babelgum has called for the scrapping of the much-troubled BBCWW/C4/ITV (LSE: ITV) JV Project Kangaroo because any other option would breach Competition Commission rules. In a written response to the commission’s suggested remedies to keep the JV legal, Babelgum, which shows BBCWW content, says only one of the proposed options is realistic: prohibition. That would mean an end to the Kangaroo plan as it stands, but the partners would be free to go back to drawing board and try to get around the commission again.

Last month Kangaroo had made its proposal in response to the commission’s range of options, offering to give up the exclusive rights to its content. Kangaroo said two other proposals – reverting content rights back to producers and giving access to rivals – would make the project unworkable.

Babelgum highlighted the commission’s concerns that UK VOD players could be disadvantaged when seeking syndication deals, saying Kangaroo’s rivals could be exploited through unrealistic prices for BBC, ITV and C4 content. “The only way to fully address the concerns identified above with the least cost impact would be to prohibit the JV,” the statement says

In the event that the commission does give Kangaroo the green light after hearing further views before its February 8 deadline, Babelgum conceded that limiting the JV’s ability to wholesale catch-up content and allowing content rights to revert back to producers would “go some way towards meeting certain Babelgum concerns”. But the existence of Kangaroo at all would still distort the market and prevent new entrants to it, it said, echoing earlier concerns of rivals.

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