BBC Trust approves Project Canvas...

Although its final decision is not due until spring 2010, the BBC Trust has given its provisional approval to the BBC's involvement in Project Canvas, published in a lengthy document available for the public to view.

The Trust has decided that "the likely public value of the proposal justifies any potential negative market impact" of the joint venture between the BBC and five other broadcast partners.

Project Canvas, in a nutshell, is a plan to create a common platform for the public to use to access on-demand TV (as is offered currently via BBC iPlayer or ITV Player) through a broadband connection via a set-top-box-connected television.

The plans mean viewers would have to have a broadband subscription but would not pay any additional subscription for the content, with the service being free-to-air named as one of the Trust's key conditions for approval.

It seems the Trust has not reached this decision lightly with over 850 consultation responses from individuals and industry stakeholders.

"After careful consideration, the Trust has provisionally concluded that Canvas is likely to benefit licence fee payers. We believe Canvas could be an important part of the way in which the BBC delivers its services in the future", Diane Coyle, chair of the Trust's Strategic Approvals Committee, said.

"Our provisional conclusions include some conditions on the BBC's involvement. These conditions are designed to help secure the public value we identified and to help minimise, where possible, any potential harmful effects on the market. We will now be consulting industry and the public on our provisional conclusions. The last stage of the process will be to consider the responses to that consultation before reaching our final decision".