BSkyB: BBC Trust not listening to Canvas concerns

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB has argued that tension within the BBC Trust is hampering its ability to consider industry concerns over the Project Canvas video-on-demand initiative.

In its response to the Trust’s initial decision to approve the joint-venture online on-demand platform, Sky said the Trust’s job as the guardian of licence fee payers was at odds with its role of setting the BBC’s strategic direction. The pay-TV operator said it was concerned about funding for Canvas, that the service favoured free-to-air broadcasters and that the user interface would be universal.

“Sky continues to believe that the BBC’s participation in Project Canvas is an unnecessary intervention into, and distortion of, the market, and that there are more proportionate means by which the BBC could achieve its Public Purposes,” the pay TV operator said in its submission. “Sky therefore regards the Trust’s Provisional Conclusions as a missed opportunity to achieve the BBC’s Public Purposes in a proportionate manner.  In particular, it is not necessary or appropriate for the Trust to allow the Canvas joint venture to bundle the core specification with the UI [user interface]. Sky is also disappointed that the Trust has decided not to make changes to the commercial objects of the joint venture to ensure that the joint venture is truly open and non-discriminatory.”