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New BBC spends nearly £1m on unapproved Project Canvas -
BBC spends nearly £1m on unapproved Project Canvas
The BBC has already spent close to £1m of the £6m it has budgeted for building Project Canvas over five years – and the internet-enabled television service has not yet been approved.
If Project Canvas is cleared by the BBC Trust, it will allow viewers to watch on-demand services, such as the BBC iPlayer, and other internet content, via television sets.
Following a Freedom of Information request, it has emerged that, from November 2008 to July 2009, the Corporation’s regulator, the BBC Trust, spent nearly £400,000 purely on consulting on whether to give its approval to the internet enabled television service from the BBC, ITV, BT and Five.
The BBC Trust is currently assessing Project Canvas and is expected to publish its provisional conclusions shortly.
From the initial idea in July 2008 until the end of August 2009, the FOI request said that the Corporation itself spent £715,140 on Project Canvas, which has been dubbed the second stage of Freeview.
The BBC has incurred a range of costs in developing the ‘Project Canvas’ application and its subsequent development, in addition to its ongoing work into research and development into IPTV [internet protocol television]. These costs included a small number of dedicated staff, audience research and consultancy, reads the response from the BBC’s information, policy and compliance department.
It then said that the external costs incurred by the BBC Trust included spend on “technical and economic consultancy, extensive industry and stakeholder consultation, research and legal spend.”
Project Canvas, which was originally expected to launch in early 2010, is expected to launch its set-top boxes in the run-up to Christmas next year, subject to approval from the BBC Trust.
There has been objection to Project Canvas from BSkyB. Sky believes the corporation should not be putting licence fee money into content platforms.
Sky, Virgin Media and other pay-TV providers are also launching more advanced services to eclipse Freeview. It recently emerged that Sky would be offering some of its programming on Freeview through Fetch TV.
Sky has also teamed up with Microsoft to allow Xbox users to watch internet-provided shows via their consoles with friends.