OFT To Scrutinise Project Canvas Amidst Protests From Competitors

UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is all set to examine the BBC-led Project Canvas, after its partners, determined to validate the nature of the controversial project, submitted their application to the regulator.

They explained that Canvas is not a merger but an alliance to provide customers with web based TV viewing services.

The OFT has requested that partners and critics of Project Canvas alike submit their viewpoints before the regulatory body by April 7th, after which it will pronounce its judgement depending on the number of submissions it receives.

The director of Project Canvas, Richard Halton, commenting on the issue, said in a statement that “The Canvas partners are clear that the joint venture does not qualify as a merger, and we welcome the opportunity to clarify this position formally.”

Project Canvas was announced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) along with ITV and BT, with a vision of bringing a platform similar to BBC's popular iPlayer catch-up service to Britain's households bundled with several web based services by the means of a Linux based set-top box.

The opponents of Project Canvas include British Sky Broadcasting (BskyB) and Virgin Media among others.

The firms, who are fierce rivals to each other, believe that the project was in conflict with Britain's competition laws and license fees were being misused by the BBC Trust, which had given the project a go-ahead some time back.

Our Comments

Canvas might be one of the biggest improvements in the field of media broadcasting that took place in the UK over the few years if it is properly executed. We desperately need a platform to federate content coming from various sources and Canvas can help a long way towards this.

Related Links

OFT to examine BBC's Canvas

(The Register)

Online TV opponents to lobby OFT

(Financial Times)

OFT investigates alliance in web-connected TV

(Times Online)

BBC, BT Online TV Venture May Be Probed by Regulator (Update1)

(Business Week)

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