We received a direct message on Twitter yesterday from the entity managing the Twitter account of Project Canvas, the internet, on demand video service that is backed by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 amongst others, over an article we published yesterday "On Demand TV Service Seesaw To Compete With MSN Player, Project Canvas".
They said that "Seesaw won't compete w/ canvas - SeeSaw is an aggregator, canvas isn't. Canvas gives web aggregators route to TV" (ed : you can learn more about project canvas here).
Make no mistake, Canvas will compete with Seesaw even if they don't formally (want to) recognise this fact. Like Canvas, Seesaw is an offshoot project of the BBC, albeit one which failed to pass the grade and got rejected by the Competitions Commission.
Both will be having the same content providers initially with Five replacing ITV in the case of Seesaw. They will both bet on advertising to generate revenues in the first leg and will both be broadband-based unlike Freeview or Freesat.
Canvas goes further by trying to be truly universal as it seeks to build "an open internet-connected TV platform" bringing VoD directly to the television either through the set top box or directly fed to the television.
But Seesaw also has made it clear that it plans to grab a share of the "the 13 million people who have used both linear and web TV services – but are still more reliant upon the big screen", to use the very words of Seesaw CEO Pierre-Jean Sebert.
After all, by this time next year, expect to see a surge in Wireless HDMI solutions which will not even require a cable to connect a computer with a television set. Intel has already launched such a platform for its latest Core Series laptops and expect other to follow.
This will, to some extent, bring some tough competition to Project Canvas. Anyway, video on demand did not have to wait for Canvas to surge in popularity and we suspect that its backers are eyeing a rapid international expansion where VoD competition is less ferocious than in the UK.
I cannot help but compare broadcasters to record labels who are trying to put their music tracks in as many formats and on as many platforms as possible. In this analogy, Canvas, Youtube and Seesaw are just retail outlets like Zavvi, iTunes or Play.com.