Project Canvas Faces Possible Investigation from Office Of Fair Trade

Media watchdog Ofcom has warned that Project Canvas, the online TV joint venture between media heavyweights BBC, ITV and BT, could face a competition investigation.

In its submission to the BBC Trust, the regulator cautioned that the venture could be subjected to the similar regulatory scrutiny that led to the end of Project Kangaroo, a joint venture involving BBC, ITV, and Channel 4.

However, Project Canvas’s founding members have really been concerned to dispel the label of “son of Kangaroo” saying that the venture intends to be a technological platform open to all content owners for bringing on-demand television to services such as Freesat and Freeview.

Incidentally, the BBC Trust decided that Project Canvas won’t need a complete public value test, which would make Ofcom to conduct a market impact evaluation over how the service would impact the commercial competitors.

Citing chances of reviewing the upcoming services, Ofcom said in a statement, “While the benefits of Canvas are potentially significant we would encourage the BBC to continue to ensure its content is made available on a wide range of platforms”.

In addition, the regulator went on to say that the development of the Project Canvas “is still at an early stage and that many definitional questions need further consideration”.

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Our Comments

After Project Kangaroo, Ofcom is going after yet another BBC Venture (ed: wonder where they were when Freesat and Freeview launched). Like Kangaroo, Canvas promises to change the landscape of media consumption in this country forever. But Ofcom, it seems doesn't share this view and wants to bring the Office of Fair Trade to investigate. Things suddenly turned dirty.

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