Channel 4 and Talktalk have confirmed that they will be investing more than £16 million each in the IPTV venture known as Project Canvas and will become the fifth and sixth partners enlisted by the BBC.
The corporation, ITV, BT and Channel Five have already joined forces to produce a platform that will bring next generation video on demand services to viewers on Freeview and Freesat digital TV environments.
Richard Halton, who is currently overseeing the project, said in a statement that "Project Canvas can help secure the future of free-to-air broadcasting, as well as create an opportunity for a wide range of public services and new commercial models to thrive through an open platform"
He further added that "We're delighted that Channel 4 and TalkTalk have joined the project.". The project has yet to be approved by the BBC trust after having attracted heavy criticisms from other video on demand providers.
Interestingly, all partners involved in Canvas will be given an equal portion of the new joint venture, meaning that the larger the number of partners, the smaller the share.
Many, like the News Corporation's Sky, suggest that Project Canvas has an unfair advantage and could undermine competition in a nascent but already very competitive market.
The BBC has already spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on Canvas and it is expected that in the first four years of operation, the platform will swallow as much as £115 million.
It is interesting to note that two ISPs have already given their support to Canvas; two of the biggest consumer internet service providers in the country. Project Canvas could be a boon for the data pipes if properly implemented, this would mean having a dedicated super content delivery network running in parallel with the normal pipes.