Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

Huggers: Canvas will give indies access to TV

By Kate Bulkley & Chris Curtis

Broadcast News

For Broadcast July 08, 2009

BBC FM&T boss Erik Huggers has claimed that IPTV venture Project Canvas will give indies, content creators and web operators the kind of access to TV traditionally reserved for broadcasters.

Huggers told the Intellect Consumer Electronics Conference last week that Canvas was about far more than getting the BBC’s iPlayer onto TV, and that it would “democratize” access to TV in the same way Apple’s iPhone App Store had opened the mobile platform to myriad content players.

Huggers outlined a vision for a Canvas EPG homepage that would combine a traditional TV guide with areas for on-demand TV services and for web and interactive content. The likes of ITVPlayer or 4oD would sit alongside iPlayer in the on-demand area.

The web services section of the EPG could host anything from Best of Top Gear shows sold at 50p a time by BBCW to retailers such as Amazon. Services such as Flickr and Dailymotion could also be available there.

Indies could also launch channels using content they hold the rights to, though it is not clear which EPG section the channels would sit in.

Huugers’ speech follows the BBC Trust calling on the Canvas partners (the BBC, ITV and BT) to release more information about the proposed service. Groups like Ofcom and Intellect have criticised Canvas for being too guarded about its plans and it has now kicked off a charm offensive to try and build a groundswell of support from the industry.

Huggers also pointed out that Canvas could be a key driver in convincing the 40% of the UK population that are not online to get access to the web.

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