BBC executives have told the BBC Trust, which is examining the Canvas project, that its total cost over its first four years will exceed £115m (E128m) including £48m+ of marketing costs.
To help attract new shareholders and spread that cost executives have proposed the stipulation that the company must be controlled by PSBs should be dropped. Originally controlling shares of 66.7% were stipulated to be in the hands of PSBs; BBC, ITV, and Five had signed up so far. 33% was reserved for ISPs, just BT has joined. However the BBC believes it can attract at least two more partners if all partners are treated equally but it does propose that PSB type obligations be written into the Shareholders Agreement.
While the BBC Trust is considering whether to green laight Canvas it has refused to conduct a full market impact study. Sky has complained and warned it believes Canvas may well breach UK competition law and European state aid regulations.