Thursday, June 4, 2009

BBC, ITV and BT TV joint venture delayed

A proposed TV joint venture between the BBC, ITV and telecoms group BT has been delayed after the body which oversees the publicly-owned corporation said it needed more information to approve the plan.

The BBC Trust said in a statement it would delay its consultation on the project, which would determine whether to approve the service, until it had more information such as on governance and technical arrangements for the joint venture.

The service, called Project Canvas, would combine the Internet with the hugely-popular free-to-air digital television set-top box called Freeview, allowing users to download programmes from the Internet through their televisions.

''As part of our assessment process we have just completed a comprehensive consultation of the industry,'' BBC Trustee Diane Coyle said. ''A common theme that emerged was that more information was needed from the BBC Executive about the Canvas proposal.'' The three partners said in a statement they were keen to support ''a timely conclusion'' of the Trust's consultation process.

''The partners believe that Canvas will maximise choice for consumers, sustain the long-term future of free-to-air broadcasting and promote broadband take-up'' they said.

''We also believe it will create significant opportunities for content providers and offer a real alternative in the TV market.''

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