The BBC’s Project Canvas is not about setting a new technological standard for TV-over-internet, the Beeb’s IPTV director Richard Halton told IPTV World Forum in London on Wednesday.
Instead, he said, the BBC is talking with broadcasters, content owners, networks and technology providers to “develop” existing standards under an industry-wide brand name. “Canvas is not an attempt to create standards. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this job, it’s that IPTV is not short of standards and we want to bring those together,” Halton told delegates.
Could commercial pay TV rivals be brought aboard? Halton said he’s keen talk to everyone in the industry about how it may affect them. But, answering a a question from paidContent:UK, Halton said the real aim is to widen access to IPTV regardless of any detriment to commercial players: “The proposals are about allowing the free-to-air part of the market to continue to evolve and have a functionality for its audience that is already offered for people who want to and can pay for digital television. It’s absolutely critical to us that the BBC provides for people that can’t and don’t want to pay for a digital TV subscription; that’s paramount.”
BSkyB (NYSE: BSY), in its submission to Lord Carter’s Digital Britain review last week, voiced its concerns about the growing dominance of iPlayer in the VOD market and said it had “similar concerns” about Canvas.
— Investment in content: One of the real drivers of Canvas, said Halton, is so the Beeb doesn’t have to keep re-purposing and re-formatting its content for every medium, from mobiles to PCs to Macs. “In itself, it’s a fantastic achievement you can watch iPlayer on a Nokia (NYSE: NOK) N96… But it demonstrates the challenge we face in working across multiple platforms.” Though it is technologically-minded, the Beeb is not a technology company, Halton said, and would rather spend its money on creating new content.