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BBC Canvas Adoption, Assuming it Survives


The latest market study from Screen Digest focuses on the prospects for a project Canvas-type venture in the UK. Screen Digest believes that a hybrid open IPTV platform -- such as that proposed by the BBC and its partners -- will attain some degree of consumer adoption.

Dan Cryan, Senior Analyst at Screen Digest says "The BBC track record of building markets with Freeview and the iPlayer has been a well-documented success. There is every reason to think that if a Canvas-type proposition is approved, with the full promotional impetus of the BBC behind it, it will reach at least 3.5 million homes by 2014."

Given recent events at the BBC Board of Governors, however, "if" Canvas is deemed within the public interest apparently remains very much an undecided issue.

Such a platform is both a threat and an opportunity to pay-TV operators. On the one hand giving them wider distribution potential for their content, and on the other hand giving content owners a potential route to bypass traditional pay-TV service providers and go direct to the consumer.

A Canvas-type proposition will offer an alternative, neutrally-branded distribution platform offering linear TV channels, video on demand and web-based applications. Ultimately, it will rival IPTV, cable and satellite and will be separate from the existing Freeview, Freesat and BT Vision offerings.

Despite the support of powerful project partners, Screen Digest believes that a Canvas-type proposition has a number of obstacles to address -- set top boxes will be expensive and the timing may coincide uncomfortably for UK consumers with the launch of HD Freeview.

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