Ofcom approval: YouView all systems go

YouView has been given the green-light by communications watchdog Ofcom, who has confirmed that it will not be opening an investigation into the internet-based TV platform born out of Project Canvas.

The independent telecommunications regulator had received complaints regarding YouView from 13 parties in total, most notably from Virgin Media and BSkyB, who raised concerns that the platform would be "incentivised to withhold content from competing platforms" and "restrict competition between TV platforms".

However, Ofcom has stated that, after assessment, "it would be premature to open an investigation", and that YouView was likely to "bring benefits to viewers and consumers", and that "any potential harm to competition would need to be offset against these benefits".

The reports suggests that there might be a case for an investigation should YouView partners enter into the practice of withholding content, but stated that there was little evidence to suggest that they would.

Ofcom’s 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".

It's all systems go then for the internet-connected television platform, which is a partnership between broadcasters BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV as well as ISPs Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk.

Expect a launch in early 2011. And expect the likes of Virgin Media and Sky to appeal this decision some time soon - we don't think the drama is over yet.

Update: IP Vision has contacted us to say:

"Our view remains that YouView’s current commitments in both areas fall well short of the commitments made by the BBC Trust when YouView was first proposed. In light of Ofcom's findings in relation to these two points,  IP Vision will be writing to the Trust calling on the public broadcaster to honour its commitments, and to adhere to the principles of fair competition described in Ofcom’s assessment."

News - YouView: The new name for Project Canvas



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