Project Canvas: Little support for this tent

Chris Forrester

Project Canvas is the name given to a plan by the BBC, ITV and British Telecom for an Internet Protocol TV-based service, which would allow viewers to watch on-demand output such as the BBC’s iPlayer as well as services from other broadcasters via TV sets.

Back in February the BBC Trust, the BBC’s governing body, launched a public consultation period, which was scheduled to end last week. The Trust has now extended the period of consultation and asked senior BBC staffers to look again at the scheme – but the bottom line is that there’s little support for the idea. The BBC Executive board will now examine the assorted objections, and then report back to the BBC Trust.

And it seems just about every rival player is objecting to the BBC’s ‘Canvas’ plan. Google, Virgin Media, BSkyB, Sony and others have cried foul, arguing that ‘Canvas’ would create a distortion in the market place, and be anti-competitive. Others complained that the Canvas plan would result in free access to the broadcaster’s libraries, and thus diminish their value in the marketplace.

The severity of the backlash is understood to have taken the BBC Trust by surprise, hence the need for more time.