Channel Five, one of the seven partners in Project Canvas, has left the venture "pending a review of its digital investment strategy".
The TV broadcaster, which has been put up for sale by its owner, RTL, is thought to have struggled to find its share of the running costs, estimated at £16million for the next four years.
It's another high-profile glitch for the station, and follows a well-publicised failure to meet Ofcom demands to launch a high definition version of the service on Freeview HD, even though the bandwidth had been put aside.
Speaking to the Financial Times on behalf of Project Canvas, Richard Halton, programme director, said, "“We are very disappointed but I don’t think anyone feels the fundamental strategic rationale [for Canvas] has been diminished. We don’t think this changes the likely scale or impact of the platform.”
Charles Constable, director of strategy at Five, said: “We continue to support the objectives of Project Canvas and despite withdrawing our interest in the venture we believe it will be a critical part of our strategy for reaching consumers in the future.”
Nonetheless, the momentum that Canvas had garnered of late cannot help but be slowed down by this decision. Maybe YouView, the prospective name for the service on launch, will be courting new partners in the near future?