Canvas Timeline: Verdict Expected By Year’s End

The BBC Trust tells paidContent:UK it hopes to publish its provisional conclusion on Project Canvas, the BBC’s proposed open VOD and apps IPTV platform, before the end of this year.

That conclusion will then go out for still more industry consultation, but it is likely to be a final decision.

Canvas has the potential to unify the forthcoming wave of disparate TV pull-VOD solutions and create a platform for webby innovation on the living-room widescreen.

But many consumer electronics makers are already planning their own TV VOD ideas and the UK’s two big pay-TV platforms, Sky and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED), are skeptical about Canvas – they have been invited to place their content on the platform together and offered capabilities, but ultimately Canvas was conceived as a free VOD service for Freeview customers who don’t want to upgrade to pay-TV.

It’s that – and the continuing success of Sky in mobilising paying customers – which might give concern to a BBC Trust that, this year, has heard numerous claims that supposed BBC expansionism has a detrimental effect on commercial media.

The Sky and Virgin opposition now carries with it a very real chance the trust could rule Canvas out. It will be very easy for the trust to see both that pay-TV is perfectly healthy and that there will be no shortage of VOD offerings.

Still, Sky is not yet even in the true pull-VOD game, and the trust could take the bold view that harmonising all these services would be both beneficial and innovative. It will certainly be exciting to see internet video delivered on the TV alongside standard broadcasters.