Ofcom rejects complaints over YouView
Ofcom has effectively given the IPTV service YouView – previously called Project Canvas – the green light after declining requests for a competition investigation into the service.
YouView is a BBC-backed consortium of companies – completed by TalkTalk, BT, ITV, Channel 4, Five and Arqiva – looking to deliver a wide range of on-demand programming over the internet.
YouView plans to create technical standards to deliver content via a single set-top box and is expected to launch in the first half of next year.
Ofcom had been asked to investigate the scheme by Virgin Media and IPVision, BskyB and several other parties, who claimed the consortium was anti-competitive and would stifle innovation.
IPTV is still an emerging sector, and the impact of YouView on the market will not be known with any confidence for some time
Ofcom said its decision not to move ahead with a full-blown investigation stemmed from the fact that the service was likely to benefit consumers more than it would impede competition in the sector.
“IPTV is still an emerging sector, and the impact of YouView on the market will not be known with any confidence for some time,” the regulator said in a statement. “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.
“Whether or not YouView and its partners will harm competition in the ways alleged will depend upon how this emerging market develops and how they act, particularly in relation to providing access to content and issuing technical standards.”
The decision will come as a blow to Virgin and its fellow complainers, who accused the project of pressuring partners to withhold content from competing platforms.
Virgin also claimed the YouView technical standards had not been developed openly and were not made available to companies outside the joint venture.