OFT To Examine Project Canvas

By Mark Sweney: The Office of Fair Trading is to examine Project Canvas, the video-on-demand service backed by the BBC and others, giving critics including BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) a chance to submit their concerns to competition authorities for the first time.

Project Canvas, the joint venture to bring VoD content to digital viewers with Freeview and Freesat that has backers including the BBC, BT (NYSE: BT), TalkTalk and ITV (LSE: ITV), has been heavily scrutinised by the BBC Trust but has not been the subject of examination by a wider regulatory body.

Critics of Project Canvas, including Sky and Virgin Media, will be pleased to get a chance to air their grievances to officials, after having argued that media regulator Ofcom should have conducted a market impact assessment of the proposed service.

According to a source involved with Project Canvas a submission was made to the OFT at the end of last week. The OFT, which is expected to launch a consultation asking for views on Project Canvas from the industry this week, will now seek to establish whether or not the venture reaches what is known as the “merger threshold”

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..