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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Releases

Channel 4 and Talk Talk join Project Canvas

Six partners invite "expressions of interest"

The companies involved in Project Canvas, a project that aims to create an open platform for internet-connected TV devices, have announced that UK public service broadcaster Channel 4 and internet service provider Talk Talk have joined the project.

The six partners will now seek expressions of interest from other companies, who share a similar vision for internet-connected TV, to become partners in the joint venture that will promote and run the platform.

Although Canvas has been open to discussions with any interested organisations since the proposals were first announced in February 2009, the six canvas partners now wish to invite any further expressions of interest from companies interested in becoming part of the joint venture.

Any venture that wants to support the open internet-connected TV platform and can commit financial and marketing support to the project is invited to contact the partners.

The BBC's involvement in project canvas is subject to BBC Trust approval.

If the proposals are approved, the partners would form a new joint venture to develop the technical specification for devices with standards body the Digital Television Group (DTG), create and market a new consumer brand, build a common user experience, and build the technology platform.

Converging broadcast with broadband, the new platform would bring together linear TV and internet-based applications – creating an upgrade for the UK's existing free-to-air TV platforms Freeview and Freesat, and giving TV audiences open access to a wide range of internet-based services.

The Canvas partners have proposed that all prospective venture partners should be granted an equal proportion of shares in the new joint venture company.

Project Canvas Programme Director Richard Halton said: "Internet-connectivity is going to have a transformational effect on TV.

"By seamlessly converging broadband and broadcast content, Project Canvas can help secure the future of free-to-air broadcasting and create an open platform that gives online services a route to the TV set.

"The potential for innovation goes far beyond bringing video-on-demand to the TV set and there's a huge opportunity for a wide range of new commercial models to thrive.

"We always wanted all the UK's public service broadcasters and at least two ISPs to be involved in the venture at launch, so we're delighted that Channel 4 and Talk Talk have joined the project.

"Today we're inviting any further expressions of interest from other companies to join the venture. We hope that any other businesses that share a similar vision for internet-connected TV will want to be a part of this story."

Notes to Editors

About Project Canvas

Project Canvas is a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and Talk Talk to spearhead an open standard for internet-connected TV.

Connected-TV is next-generation TV, providing internet-based content with a route to the living room TV screen.

The partners would form a new joint venture company to promote it to audiences and the content, service and developer community.

Canvas compliant devices (eg set-top boxes) would enable a range of services to be accessed seamlessly together through a common, simple user experience.

Services would include:

  • Linear TV (eg Freeview, Freesat) with HD and storage (pause, rewind, record)
  • Video-on-demand services (eg BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 40D)
  • Other internet-based content or services (eg Flickr, Amazon, NHS Direct)

The BBC's involvement is subject to BBC Trust approval.

About the venture

The changes to the proposed governance structure of Project Canvas were made available for consultation by the BBC Trust as part of their ongoing assessment of the BBC's involvement in Project Canvas.

If the BBC's involvement in Canvas is approved by the BBC Trust, the partners would establish a new joint venture company that would:

  • Award and promote a trademark
  • Develop and maintain a consistent user experience
  • Ensure technical compliance of web services (via a third party)
  • Ensure consistent platform environment – metadata etc
  • Collate usage data
  • Manage front-line customer service

The joint venture company will not:

  • Own the underlying specification for hardware
  • Aggregate or otherwise control content
  • Operate any billing system
  • Set device price points
  • Offer EPG prominence for membership

Joining the joint venture company: criteria

Prospective partners would need to make a positive contribution to the Canvas venture as a whole, by:

  • Fulfilling the commercial objects of the joint venture company
  • Committing marketing spend to Canvas venture
  • Possessing financial resources to meet shareholder obligations
  • Be prepared to inject cash into the venture


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