Project Canvas set for OFT scrutiny

Project Canvas, the proposed IPTV service from broadcasters the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and ISPs BT and TalkTalk, will be scrutinised by the Office of Fair Trading to ensure the joint-venture doesn’t qualify as a merger.


The partners have submitted papers to the OFT outlining why the proposed project doesn’t constitute a merger, which is expected to prompt an OFT consultation process.

The BBC’s participation in Canvas is still subject to final approval from its governing body, the BBC Trust.

Media services company Arqiva, which is behind the SeeSaw IPTV service, has confirmed it will join Project Canvas as an equal stakeholder, bringing the number of participants in the proposed venture to seven.

Richard Halton, project director of Canvas, said, “The partners are clear that the joint-venture doesn’t qualify as a merger and we welcome the opportunity to clarify this position formally.”

Any OFT consultation process will give opponents of the joint-venture a platform to air their grievances.

Commercial broadcaster BSkyB last week reacted to the BBC Trust’s provisional approval of the BBC’s involvement in Project Canvas, claiming that its structure favours free-to-air broadcasters.

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