TalkTalk’s Charles Dunstone Comes Out Fighting For Project Canvas

By Mark Sweney: Charles Dunstone, the chairman of Project Canvas partner TalkTalk, has dismissed criticism of the video-on-demand service by BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED), but expects to face further scrutiny before getting its final go-ahead.

Dunstone admitted that there had been arguments over the strategic direction of Project Canvas among the seven partners in the BBC-backed joint venture, but said the eventual goal was clear. Project Canvas was cleared of breaching competition regulation relating to mergers by the Office of Fair Trading on Wednesday.

BSkyB has argued that Project Canvas, and particularly its backing by the licence fee-funded BBC, amounts to giving its rivals an unfair leg up in the nascent UK VoD market. Virgin Media has argued that despite its protestations to the contrary Project Canvas, which will bring VoD content to TV viewers with Freeview and Freesat receivers, is an unfair closed platform.

“I am a very fair person and very pro competition but I do find it hard to accept their criticism,” said Dunstone, speaking to MediaGuardian.co.uk.

“Canvas is a completely open platform, anyone can join it. What is happening is the unbundling of TV

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