"The idea of bringing Internet onto the television is extremely exciting"
The BBC has enjoyed remarkable success with its iPlayer in the past year (including winning the Best On-Demand Technology for IPTV award just a few days ago at this year's IPTV World Series Awards), and continues to plough its own furrow with its proposed Project Canvas initiative, which made one of the key presentations of Day 1 at this week's IPTV World Forum.
We spoke to Rahul Chakkara, Controller of Future Media TV Platforms at the BBC, who collected the Beeb's trophy at the awards ceremony and also delivered a presentation entitled 'Understanding the Success of Online Video' on Day 2 of the show. Mr. Chakkara said that - although he is reluctant to use the phrase - the industry appears to be at a "tipping point", with new kinds of content and services emerging in the industry, "and more importantly, audiences seem to understand what IPTV is about and see the value in it", as indicated by the corporation's own consumer research, he said.
He adds that the next 12-24 months give a huge opportunity for the IPTV industry to "take off and get some critical mass". He goes on to say that, under the BBC's Public Service Broadcasting Partnerships initiative, there exists an opportunity to leverage the investments the BBC has made in order to help the other UK public service broadcasters out of some tough times, and gain success in the same area.
Which brings us on to Project Canvas - Mr Chakkara commented: "We strongly believe that, based on our success with Freeview and Freesat, a standards-based model is the most beneficial for the industry, the content publisher and - most importantly - for our audiences. Project Canvas is about setting a set of specifications for the IPTV industry which brings together the richness of broadcast with the power of broadband."
"The biggest challenge, not just for the BBC but for any other broadcaster, is how to use the Internet coming to the television to create new kinds of content and services that will bring value to our audiences, and make this attractive to use," he added. "The idea of bringing Internet onto the television and merging it with broadcast is extremely exciting for our programme makers - they really want to get involved, and we have to give them the tools to do so."