The BBC Trust has given its provisional approval to the BBC's involvement in Project Canvas, saying that the likely public value of the proposal justifies any potential negative market impact.
Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC and five other partners to develop and promote a common standard that would allow viewers with a broadband connection to watch on their television sets on-demand services, such as the BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player, and other internet content, as well as ordinary linear television content. This would be via a device such as a set-top box connected to the internet. According to the Canvas partners viewers would have to have a broadband subscription but would not pay any additional subscription for the content.
The Trust proposed some conditions on the BBC's participation in the venture, to 'secure public value and lessen any adverse impact Canvas might have on the wider market, where possible.'
There will now be a period of consultation on the provisional conclusions closing on 2 February 2010, after which the Trust will reach its final decision.
Diane Coyle, Chair of the Trust's Strategic Approvals Committee, said: "One of the BBC's aims is to bring the benefits of emerging communications technologies to the public.
"After careful consideration, the Trust has provisionally concluded that Canvas is likely to benefit licence fee payers. We believe Canvas could be an important part of the way in which the BBC delivers its services in the future.
"Our provisional conclusions include some conditions on the BBC's involvement. These conditions are designed to help secure the public value we identified and to help minimise, where possible, any potential harmful effects on the market. We will now be consulting industry and the public on our provisional conclusions. The last stage of the process will be to consider the responses to that consultation before reaching our final decision."
Image: Indicitive Canvas user-interface
DTG Staff | 22.12.2009