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Virgin’s Berkett: BBC’s Canvas consultation a “whitewash”

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett slammed the BBC Trust’s consultation on the proposed Project Canvas on-demand TV service at Cable Congress yesterday.

Taking part in a panel session “Cable, Content and Google”, Berkett said Canvas would be “a great concept if it was open”. However, he said, the proposals were currently “very confusing” and the BBC Trust’s consultation was far from satisfactory. “The Trust consultation is an absolute whitewash,” he said. “It’s not clear if [Canvas] will be open. In fact it’s quite clear it will be closed. We need to look at this as a whole. We need to embrace over-the-top but this is an exception that I feel quite strongly about.”

Turning to the UK cable operator’s own plans for over-the-top TV services, Berkett said Virgin Media would launch a service with Tivo technology inside its set-top boxes at the end of the year. “We believe Tivo will provide a gateway to the portal world,” he said.