Ofcom will not investigate YouView, the nascent IP-enabled catch-up TV service from the BBC, BT and others, because it has not done anything wrong yet.
The regulator said on Tuesday that there had been several complaints over Project Canvas, which will operate under the YouView brand: that the partners would have an incentive to withhold content from rival platforms; that it did not use open standards; that the YouView brand was tied to a specific user interface; and that it was "likely to restrict competition between TV platforms".
However, Ofcom said, it would be premature to open an investigation because of IPTV's immaturity, and because the partners — BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva — had not yet had a chance to show that they would not be anti-competitive.
"Ofcom's view is that consumers' interests will not be served by opening an investigation," Ofcom chief Ed Richards said in a statement. "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."
On the subject of standards, Ofcom claimed that "the partners behind YouView have already made a number of technical standards available to the industry".
"While there is potential risk of consumer harm if transparency is restricted in the future, Ofcom does not consider the risk sufficiently material at this stage to justify an investigation," the regulator said.
YouView has previously cleared approval by the BBC Trust and the Office of Fair Trading.