Stuart Smith on the BBC and video on demand

If, like me, you are wondering why the Office of Fair Trading has given Project Canvas a clean bill of health after coming down so hard on Project Kangaroo, delving into the ruling may clear up the confusion.

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Both are video on demand (VoD) joint multichannel ventures in which the BBC would play a significant role but the OFT says that in the case of Canvas none of the partners will have a “material influence” over the policy’s venture. This view clearly implies that, in the case of Kangaroo, the BBC did – a situation that would have eventually enabled it to exercise a stranglehold over UK IPTV.

But that’s not what Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett thinks. He has accused the BBC Trust of supporting the corporation’s bid to become “de facto gatekeeper of the digital world.” Manufactured hysteria, or prescient insight? We’ll know soon enough.

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Unlike its predecessor, Project Kangaroo which was blocked last year, Project Canvas will not be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading. As the future path for Canvas becomes clearer Sharon Wheeler, CEO, Turquoise Brand Consultants, asks ’who owns the audience relationship in the Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) world?’

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