Trust calls for BBC to fill in Canvas as consultation attracts mixed views

The BBC Trust, the UK public broadcaster’s governing body, has told the BBC to provide more detail about its plans for Canvas, the proposed video-on-demand platform that would see content delivered over the internet to Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes and connected TVs. The call for greater clarity follows a seven-day consultation on the project that saw a wide range of views being expressed by industry players.

The Trust wants to see more information about the technical standards for the platform, control of the EPG, and governance of the joint venture between the BBC, ITV and BT that will own Canvas. The joint venture partners said in a statement: “We welcome the Trust’s statement and the opportunity to publish more information and we are keen to support a timely conclusion of the Trust’s consultation process.”

In its submission to the consultation, Google argued for the opening up of the platform to include YouTube and other services. Google said it recommended that Canvas allowed users to access any web-based service and should not be limited to a few content providers. Google also argued that Canvas should create a level playing field for all content providers on its EPG.

Independent producers called for pay services to be supported. All3Media said Canvas should be compatible with pay-per-view services, while FremantleMedia, said the ability to support paid-for services should be built into the platform from launch.

The Broadband Stakeholder Group meanwhile warned that Canvas would increase costs for ISPs and said that the project must support new forms of revenue throughout the value chain. Pay-TV provider Virgin Media argued that the project would have an adverse market impact because it would inevitably become the dominant VOD platform in the UK. 

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