Sky's Murdoch criticises iPlayer, sees it as potent threat

Observers will find it particularly interesting to hear that James Murdoch, apparent heir to Media Magnate, Rubert Murdoch, openly criticised BBC's iPlayer, saying that it has distorting the competitive landscape.

Talking to the Marketing Society annual lecture in London on Thursday night, he described BBC's iPlayer's internet TV services as a "big step, a pre-emptive intervention in a marketplace otherwise hugely competitive and moving very fast".

His frustration, it seems, was more targetted at the way the iPlayer was rolled out, rather than at the technological aspect itself. The BBC has already allocated £131 million over 5 years to the iPlayer project.

BSkyB also owns a catch-up service called Sky Anytime and like the iPlayer, Channel's four 4OD and others, it uses the Kontiki platorm which is owned by Verisign.

Clearly, Murdoch is unhappy about the popularity of the iPlayer, but more worryingly for him, Sky is being faced with the increased prospects of being conspicuously excluded from Kangaroo, the commercial, worldwide equivalent of the iPlayer, which is set to be launched later this year, and the freesat HD satellite TV service which is also set to start in Spring.

Sky has joined the bandwagon of anti-iPlayer lashers which includes ISPs, but for different reasons.