BBC Focuses on Canvas Project After Kangaroo Debacle

The BBC, in conjunction with ITV and BT, is planning to launch a next generation Freeview service, codenamed as “Project Canvas”, which includes new iteration of television set-top box that comes pre-installed with an open web connection.

In addition to offering an open platform to broadcasters in order to enable them to add their contents, Canvas will offer on-demand content viewing to the telly addicts, the service which is currently being provided ITVPlayer and BBC iPlayer services on users’ computers.

The BBC Trust, the regulating body of the corporation, will evaluate whether the new project would serve the interests of licence-fee payers and assess its impact over the market.

The venture is expected to be joined by Channel 4 and Five after its launch in 2010, and any Internet Service Provider would be able to provide the Canvas box through their networks.

However, the new project would face scrutiny from the regulators, in the wake of collapse of Project Kangaroo, the joint project that included BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, which was halted by the Competition Commission, as the project would reportedly pose threat to the competition in video-on-demand market.

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Our Comments

Canvas is the next obvious project for BBC and it is likely that chunks of of Kangaroo will be included in Canvas. As it names implies, the latter will certainly be a more open and inviting project. That said, regulators will pay particular attention to the impact of such a project on the competition.

Related Links

BBC Trust to enter consultation for Project Canvas

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BBC, ITV and BT's 'next generation Freeview' venture under review

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New breed of set-top box faces scrutiny

(Financial Times)

UK regulators looking at BBC plans for new set-top box breed

(Telecom Paper)