In its response to provisional conclusions published by the BBC regulatory body, a copy of which has been obtained by Broadband TV News, the DTG said a significant number of its members have urged it in the “strongest possible terms” to seek urgent clarification before final approval of the Canvas Proposals is granted.
Members fear that the DTG, whose over 140 member organisations are drawn from broadcasters, manufacturers, platform operators, retailers, trade bodies, charities and consumer groups, might be marginalised by Project Canvas. It says BBC copyrighted documents have not been released to the DTG’s Connected TV groups and that the D-Book interoperability standard for DTT has been misrepresented.
The DTG’s Connected TV project has been presented as a key element of Canvas, encouraged by the Trust and the BBC Executive, with the DTG promising to extend its membership to ISPs. But DTG members have now voiced their concerns that the provisional approval document does not contain a clear and unequivocal condition that the Canvas JV will work with the DTG to develop a common standard for Connected TV devices and services.
“While our members have welcomed recent improvements in engagement by the BBC and other members of the Canvas JV, particularly in areas such as IP Delivery, feedback from our membership indicates that there remains widespread concern in the industry that there is a parallel process in place – with a Canvas specification being developed between the Canvas JV and its innovation partners separately from, and regardless of, the DTG’s Connected TV specification work,” reads the document.
DTG members want the wording within the document to be tightened to include a clear commitment to work with the organisation. It fears that the time limit of Autumn 2010 could be used as a ‘get out clause” that would allow the Canvas JV to disengage from the industry and wants the date removed.
However, the Canvas partners – themselves members of the DTG – are not convinced the submission reflects the views of the wider membership. “We intend to continue our extensive work with the DTG’s connected TV working group with a view to better understand the reasons why the DTG have raised these concerns in this way, and work to resolve any concerns,” a spokesperson for Project Canvas told Broadband TV News. “We have been encouraged by the wide range of consumer electronics companies who have expressed an interest in manufacturing canvas-compliant devices. These companies are also members of the DTG and we hope to make an announcement in this regard in due course”.
The BBC Trust closed its consultation into the BBC’s participation in Canvas on February 2. A final decision is expected in the next few weeks.
There are now a total of six partners involved in Project Canvas, which is designed to bring internet-based services to the television screen. The other partners are ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT and TalkTalk.