Virgin Media lodges Project Canvas reservations

Virgin Media has lodged an official complaint to Ofcom over Project Canvas. The service provider claims that the proposed video-on-demand platform is anti-competitive.

The new venture, which sees the BBC partner with rival broadcasters such as Channel 4 and ITV, plus broadband and service suppliers Talk Talk and BT, aims to provide a new, standardised VOD platform, possibly replacing Freeview in the process.

However, Virgin Media complains that it would "significantly and irreparably harm" the TV sector.

It also stresses that rather than offer an open standard, one that Virgin Media would've been happy to explore as part of its own future plans, the project has now morphed into a closed platform: "The Canvas partners have significantly exceeded their original claims to be creating a common set of open standards which could have been improved upon by others and are now intent on controlling every aspect of how people watch TV", it said in a statement.

"The BBC Trust has already acknowledged, but then completely ignored, the impact that Canvas will have on so many different organisations; from consumer electronics firms to software developers and enterprising new technology manufacturers to independent programme makers".

The BBC, though, has remained bullish in light of the complaint: "Our proposals remain unchanged and will create an open standards-based internet connected TV environment within which competition and innovation can flourish", it said on its own website. "We remain focused on launching a consumer proposition next year that will transform people's daily TV viewing experience".

It will be interesting to see if Sky follows Virgin Media's lead, as it too has been highly critical of the venture.

What do you think? Is Virgin Media just being a big killjoy? Or do you agree that the Project Canvas proposals are anti-competitive, and you would rather The BBC spend your licence fee elsewhere?

Let us know in the comments below...



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