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Five Rejoins Internet TV Project Canvas

By | Tuesday August 24, 2010 @ 4:08am PDT

As predicted, the UK private broadcaster has rejoined the TV service, which will convert your television set into an on-demand portal. BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Talk Talk and Arqiva plan to launch their joint consumer product in 2011. Dawn Airey, who has just exited Five as CEO, was recently appointed non-executive director of Lovefilm, the UK’s version of Netflix. No surprises that Lovefilm wants to join Canvas too.

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Ingenious Exec Confirmed To Chair Canvas

Kip Meek has been appointed non-executive chairman of Project Canvas, the joint venture between the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk and Arqiva to create on-demand TV. Meek will step down from his consulting job at Ingenious Media. There’s been talk that Orange, the French mobile phone company, may join Project Canvas. Five dropped out earlier this month because of budget restraints.

Set to be called YouView, Canvas could transform the way we watch TV here in Britain. Canvas will convert your TV into an on-demand portal, where you can watch the output of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five whenever you want. I’m very excited about the implications of Project Canvas. In a few years’ time, I suspect the whole notion of watching linear TV channels is going to seem very quaint.

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Ingenious Exec To Run Project Canvas

Kip_Meek(Kip Meek, head of Ingenious Media’s consulting arm, is set to be named chairman of Project Canvas later this week, according to the Guardian. Project Canvas is the groundbreaking TV service that’s being launched by the UK’s terrestrial broadcasters. Canvas declined to comment.

Meek is seen as a good choice, having been senior policy partner at communications regulator Ofcom. He also has strong ties to the government, having sat with Liz Murdoch on the Conservatives’ creative industries review panel, chaired by ex-BBC boss Greg Dyke.

“He’s a very capable bloke, especially in areas such as broadband,” one media analyst tells me.

Canvas has been rocked by Five dropping out of the project – although its programmes will still available when the service launches early 2011. Five has left the other partners – BBC, ITV and Channel 4 plus telcos BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva – to shoulder its share of the £116 million cost. Five was expected to contribute £16 million a year to help pay for Canvas. But now it’s being fattened up for sale. It may be that Five’s new owner doesn’t want to be saddled with that kind of financial commitment.

Set to be called YouView, Canvas could transform the way we watch TV here in Britain. Canvas will convert your TV into an on-demand portal, where you can watch the output of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five whenever you want. The idea of having linear TV channels could disappear completely.

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DIGITAL TV GOLD RUSH: BBC Pulls Wraps Off Project Canvas

PD*10000606BBC Trust, Auntie’s oversight body, has approved the on-demand UK digital TV service. Project Canvas will enable the BBC’s hugely-popular iPlayer service available to TVs for the first time. Canvas – which is likely to be renamed YouView – is set to launch in April 2011. The BBC and partners including ITV, Channel 4, Five, Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk will spend £116 million ($174 million) on the project over four years.

“This is essentially giving the green light to big public service broadcasters doing internet television on their terms,” says Informa senior TV analyst Julia Glotz.

The BBC has made a few not-especially-taxing provisos, however, the key one being that its investment must not bust 20% of estimated costs over five years. The BBC is set to spend £25 million ($38 million) developing Canvas.

What it means for TV viewers is watching the Beeb’s hugely popular iPlayer catch-up service through the telly, rather than on computer. Canvas will also carry the on-demand catch-up services from ITV Player, 4oD and Demand Five.

On-demand movie channels including Lovefilm are also expected to become available. And it paves the way for hundreds of specialist TV channels, ranging from motorcycling to horse-racing, being launched for enthusiasts.

Glotz says: “One of the BBC Trust’s conditions is that there will be open access to this platform, which will be in millions of homes.”

Melanie Bloomfield, broadband media analyst at Screen Digest, warns that with so many new services, viewers may not be able … Read More »

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