BBC Trust approves Project Canvas

The BBC Trust has approved Project Canvas, the IPTV joint venutre between the BBC and partners ITV, Channel 4, Five, Arqiva, BT and Talk Talk.


It has given the green light to the project on the grounds the BBC comply with certain conditions. For example, users must always be able to access Canvas for free, although they may be charged for additional services from third parties, such as video on demand and broadband subscription.

The Trust’s review said, “Entry controls in terms of technical and content standards will be minimal, access will not be bundled with other products or services, listing on the electronic programme guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner, and quality standards for ISPs delivering Canvas will be set at a minimum level and applied in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.”

The Trust has stated the BBC must not exceed the estimated costs by more than 20% over a five-year period.

The full list of conditions and details on the technical specifications can be found here.

Project director Richard Halton said, “We are delighted by today’s news. The BBC Trust has subjected the proposals to the highest level of scrutiny and the findings reflect over a year of consultation and debate. The partners will work through the final conclusions and conditions and step up our engagement with the wider industry as we plan towards a consumer launch.

“Project Canvas will safeguard the future of the UK’s free-to-air TV platforms and allow new business models to thrive through an open, internet-connected, TV platform. This brings the benefits of next-generation TV to all consumers, including those who choose not to subscribe to pay-TV. We look forward to rising to that challenge.”

Diane Coyle, BBC trustee and chair of the Trust’s Strategic Approvals Committee, said, “The Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence-fee payers. People with a broadband connection will be able to access a wide range of on-demand content including the BBC iPlayer free of charge through their TVs. We have,however, applied a number of conditions to the BBC’s involvement in recognition of the potential impacts on the market if Canvas is successful.”

The Trust will review the BBC’s involvement against the conditions of its approval 12 months after the launch of Canvas.

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