“I’m basically very positive about Canvas,” Jeremy Hunt, the culture, media and sport secretary, told the The Media Festival Arts. “In terms of what I understand, I think it’s incredibly exciting. It will finally – for many, many people – remove the barriers between lean-forward and lean-back technology. The chaos of the internet – for better or worse – will arrive in our living rooms. All the potential of IPTV will finally become something that consumers will appreciate.”
Hunt also said Canvas will present a broadband challenge as Canvas will be bandwidth-hungry. “If we are to be the most innovative place for digital content, we need to have the fastest broadband speeds – we need to have much, much faster upload speeds as well as downloads speeds.”
But Hunt stressed that, as secretary of state, he is separated from any competition oversight Canvas may receive. United For Local TV (ULTV), an umbrella group which represents local broadcasters with restricted service licenses, has joined Virgin, Six TV (a ULTV member), and IPVision in complaining to Ofcom about Canvas.
ULTV says it shares the concerns already largely raised by Six TV in its competition complaint to Ofcom about Canvas. It believes Canvas risks undermining competition by:
– qualification for including those services is “arbitrary”.
– fees are charged that are “unrelated to a service provider’s ability to pay”.
– their channels would be hard to find on the EPG.
– the JV members may exploit viewer data “for commercial advantage”
– Canvas could “prevent viewers from obtaining any streamed services on the open internet from TV channels who are unwilling or unable to meet the access terms.”
Meanwhile, Michael Lyons BBC Trust chairman, has told IBC that 80% of the BBC’s budget would be spent on content. He said the BBC constantly needed to test the meaning of its commitment to universal access when there was such a multiplicity of platforms. But its commitment to Canvas continues, though Lyons emphasised the Trust had backed it on the basis of openness.
Given the number of platforms and devices becoming available, Lyons said there would have to be future consideration on changing the basis of the license to take in all (BBC) receiving devices.