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Canvas becomes YouView, Halton named as CEO

It’s official: Project Canvas, the UK connected TV on-demand initiative, is to be branded as YouView. Richard Halton, previously project director of the BBC-led initiative, has been named CEO of the joint-venture.

The seven partners in the project have announced the formation of YouView TV Ltd.

“YouView is a brilliant new subscription-free TV service which combines the best TV with on demand services and internet content. I am delighted to be leading the team who will make it a reality and think it will change the way we watch TV forever,” said Halton. “We are creating an exciting consumer brand which will stand for a better TV experience for UK homes. Connected TV creates all kinds of creative possibilities, for existing networks as well as local services and new developers of interactive applications. It all adds up to great news for TV audiences. I look forward to working closely with the creative and developer communities to open up exciting possibilities for viewers to discover and enjoy content in new ways.”

Halton’s appointment has been approved by Canvas chairman Kip Meek.

YouView, which expects to launch in the first half of next year, will introduce a programme guide that goes backwards as well as forwards to enable people to see what’s on currently alongside shows they have missed from the last seven days, including programmes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five.

The boxes will include a DVR and viewers will be able to search by genre, interest or locality, including films, sports and new content from the internet. YouView also plans to offer an applications store. YouView set top boxes will be available for a one-off fee, with no contract. They may be offered at special rates as part of new or improved broadband packages.

News of the creation of YouView comes at a time when the project is under increasing pressure from a range of companies and organisations that have complained to regulator Ofcom that the project is anti-competitive. However, Canvas was able to deliver good news last week when it announced that over 40 technology vendors had pledged support.