Project Canvas Sets Sign-Up Deadline

By Mark Sweney: Project Canvas will stop taking on new partners after 23 April, it says, as its critic BSkyB forges ahead with taking its online TV player on to internet TVs and Freeview set-top boxes.

Canvas, a video-on-demand service backed by seven partners including the BBC and ITV (LSE: ITV), said that companies must show at least an expression of interest in taking a stake in the venture by 23 April.

The project aims to bring video on demand to Freeview and Freesat households, and is being examined by the Office of Fair Trading.

“We are keen to finalise the number of interested parties in the venture to ensure we have the most effective project structure to take us through to launch, subject to final BBC Trust conclusions,” said Richard Halton, the director of Project Canvas. “The BBC Trust’s interim approval of the proposals in December added real momentum to the project, and the prospect of developing a subscription-free, open internet-connected TV platform has become that much more real.”

Project Canvas has been criticised by rivals including Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) and BSkyB (NYSE: BSY), who believe the BBC should not be involved and that the subscription-free platform effectively excludes pay-TV operators.

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