Ofcom warns Project Canvas could be subject to competition investigation

Ofcom has warned that Project Canvas, the joint venture IPTV proposal, could be subject to a competition investigation.

The initiative, proposed by the BBC, ITV and BT, aims to develop an open-standard platform to give viewers subscription-free access to on-demand services and internet content via TV.

In a submission to the BBC Trust, which is conducting a consultation into the proposed venture, the media regulator raised concerns about the platform’s openness and neutrality.

Ofcom highlighted five “high-level issues” for the Trust’s considerations, these included ensuring the openness of the platform standards, the flexibility to implement the platform across free-to-air and pay services, “justifiable and proportionate” quality standards for content on the platform, partnership arrangements with third parties, and careful consideration of navigation and electronic programme guides.

The submission follows the BBC Trust’s decision in March not to submit Project Canvas to a public value test which would require Ofcom to undertake a market impact assessment on the project.

Peter Phillips, partner, strategy and market developments at Ofcom, said, “We understand that issues relating to the compliance of Canvas with all relevant competition obligations will be considered within the Trust’s assessment, including those arising from arrangements specific to the BBC and also those arising as a result of competition, merger and state aid law.

“In that regard we recognise that there may be a future role for the OFT and/or Ofcom to assess the arrangement under relevant merger or competition law,” Phillips added.

On Wednesday advertising body ISBA said the project would provide “an important commercial counterbalance” to the BBC’s iPlayer platform (nma.co.uk 22 April).

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here