New challenge to Project Canvas

A local TV group is demanding an Ofcom investigation into the BBC-backed Project Canvas.

The joint venture, which also includes TalkTalk, BT, Arqiva, Channel 4 and ITV, was granted clearance by the BBC Trust earlier this year. Canvas will add online functionality to the current free-to-air Freeview digital terrestrial TV service. Orange and Channel 5 may also get involved.

But Six TV – the largest holder of local TV licences in the UK, told MediaGuardian: “Far from a panacea, we regard Project Canvas as a poison pill which will have a negative effect on opportunities for important new television services to enter the market.

“We are calling upon Ofcom to launch a full investigation of the actions of the joint venture partners [in Canvas] as we do not believe local TV will be viable in the UK otherwise.”

Six TV, which owns licences to broadcast digital channels in Oxford, Reading and Southampton, said it would also contact the Office of Fair Trading.

Virgin Media has complained that Canvas is an “anti-competitive cartel that will crush the nascent online TV market”.

This article appears in issue 250 of Media Digest.

(Source: MediaGuardian)

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