Controversial video on demand platform Project Canvas has suffered a setback as Channel Five pulled out of Project Canvas after saying that it no longer considers the BBC-backed project as a "priority investment".
Widely expected to be launched next year as Youview, Project Canvas, which has been resurrected from the remains of Project Kangaroo, is co-owned by ITV, Channel 4, BT, Talktalk and Arqiva; the latter has acquired the Project Kangaroo's IP.
RTL, the German owner of Five, has put up the channel for sale and the move might be the reason why Channel Five no longer considers Canvas to be vital to its future; it is also likely that Five would indeed be acquired by one of the members of Project Canvas.
Five's director of Strategy, Charles Constable, said that the channel will continue to support the objectives of Project Canvas and that the venture would still play a critical part in their strategy for reaching consumers in the future.
Youview is estimated to cost around £16 million over the next four years and the withdrawal of Five means that there could well be an empty seat for a potential investor. That may well be Virgin Media, which has already said that it would be keen to collaborate with Project Canvas as a content provider.
Project Canvas has received formal approval from the BBC Trust and the Office of Fair Trade amidst criticism from potential rivals like Sky. Five will now only supply content to the platform like it is already doing for the likes of Seesaw.