Project Canvas proposes equal-share model as costs rise

Companies behind Project Canvas, the proposed UK video-on-demand platform that would see content delivered over the internet to Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes and connected TV sets, have proposed changes to ensure that all partners are granted an equal share in it.

An original application submitted in February recommended a structure giving public sector broadcasters (PSBs) a 66.7% controlling stake with ISPs controlling the rest. The BBC has now proposed to its governing body that PSBs should not be granted an implicit majority stake in the venture. The BBC Trust will now offer a short period for responses, ending on November 18. Partners of the project currently include broadcasters the BBC, ITV and Five along with telco BT.

The request comes as the BBC Trust revealed that Project Canvas is expected to cost a little over £115m (€128m) during its first four years. The figure of £115.6m provided by BBC management to the Trust includes overheads, marketing (£48.4m), technology (£30.3m), operations, product management and design. The BBC believes it will have recovered £17m in costs at the end of the fourth year, leaving partners with a bill of £98.6m. Shared equally amongst the four current partners would mean each one would pay £24.7m. However, the BBC said it was confident of adding two more partners, bringing the sum down to £16.4m each.