4 Ways Project Canvas Will Change UK Television Landscape

Project Canvas is possibly one of the most ambitious projects kickstarted by the BBC over the past decade, on par with Freeview which was launched back in 2002, and even more important to the corporation's future than its popular iPlayer platform.

The corporation initially placed its hopes on Project Kangaroo back in 2008 before it had to make huge concessions to the competition commission; which did not view the BBC's commitment to online content on demand with great enthusiasm.

But at the beginning of this year, the Competition Commission killed the project saying that it would be "too much of a threat to competition in this developing market and has to be stopped".

Now with Canvas, the Beeb together with its partners hope to change the way multimedia content is being consumed in the UK through five ways.

(1) Canvas will bring together actors from various markets and will put them no equal footing. Internet service providers, broadcasters and content producers will have an equal portion of the Canvas pie; this will have a profound incidence on the media market as synergies and alliances are formed.

(2) Canvas will make narrowcasting mainstream. Right now, broadcasting is still the norm with the UK audience gradually catching up with video on demand capabilities offered by Virgin Media, Sky or BBC's iPlayer. Canvas has the potential to accelerate this shift.

(3) UK Television will include international partners only; it is not unlikely that others will join Canvas in the future either as strategic partners or collaborators to offer a significantly wider range of content to a British audience. These might include Youtube, Hulu or Dailymotion.

(4) Canvas will hasten the creation of a Super Content Delivery Network; Canvas partners are already on an alternative project called Content Connect.

This is basically a new super Content Delivery Network dedicated to Canvas which will not only remove the traffic load on the congested networks of UK ISPs but also provide with the bandwidth and the infrastructure to expand significantly.

It is not surprising therefore that the likes of Sky and Virgin Media have condemned the decision of the BBC Trust to approve Canvas.

The project though is critical to the future of the corporation as it needs to match the technological improvements that its immediate rivals have introduced.