Ofcom greenlights YouView

Ofcom greenlights YouView

Ofcom has given its blessing to YouView – the BBC, TalkTalk and BT backed service - which aims to bring video on-demand to Freeview and Freesat viewers.

The decision overules objections from rival companies, including Virgin Media and BSkyB, who argued the venture, formerly known as Project Canvas, is an anti-competitive cartel that will stifle the emerging video on-demand market.

Ofcom received submissions from 12 parties. Objectors argued that YouView partners could withhold content from rival video on-demand platforms and that the technical standards have not been developed openly.

However, the watchdog argued that since YouView was launching into an emerging market it would be hard to know the impact of the venture on the market ‘with any confidence for some time’.

The regulator added: ‘It is likely that YouView will bring benefits to viewers and consumers.Any potential harm to competition would need to be offset against these benefits.’

However Ofcom said it will ‘keep the content syndication policies under review’, adding that there is not a 'sufficiently material risk' at this stage to justify an investigation over the availability of technical standards.

Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards said: ‘Ofcom's view is that consumers' interests will not be served by opening an investigation. It would be premature at the current stage of YouView's development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm. But if evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate.’

YouView chief executive Richard Halton said: ‘We have been clear throughout this process that YouView will stimulate competition in the TV platform market and create opportunities for content providers and device manufacturers.

'In a market dominated by pay services, we are creating the only mass market IPTV service that will be subscription free. All our efforts are now focused on launching a brilliant consumer product for launch next year. We look forward to broadening our engagement with wider industry partners over the coming weeks and months.’

The decision means YouView will launch in the first half of next year. Initially it will target the seven million Freeview households that have broadband access.

Other partners in YouView include Arqiva, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.


Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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