Over-the-top television provider IP Vision has formally complained to Ofcom, calling on the regulator to examine the impact Project Canvas will have on innovation, competition and consumer choice.
IP Vision has an interest in the development of Canvas, given that it already has a ‘Canvas-like’ OTT product in the market, a hybrid set-top box combining DTT services with the BBC iPlayer, Sky Player and its own proprietary VOD offering. The company has already challenged the BBC over support for the iPlayer – IP Vision’s Fetch TV boxes currently run the ‘big screen’ version of the BBC catch-up service.
“If Project Canvas rolls out as intended, market competition, consumer choice and technology and commercial innovation will be stymied. The consumer will end up paying the price of an uncompetitive market in the form of restricted content, service and technology choice,” said IP Vision CEO Eddie Abrams. “As a leader in this nascent sector in the UK, we are all in favour of healthy competition that benefits both the industry and consumers. However, this group of industry Goliaths, supported in part by BBC licence fee funds, will have the power to dominate the sector – even though what Canvas will offer will not be superior to solutions already on the market. “
IP Vision is challenging the validity of Project Canvas, run by the BBC with backing from partners including ITV, BT, Talk Talk and Arqiva, under the 1998 Competition Act.
In an earlier submission to the BBC Trust, IP Vision challenged the expansion of Project Canvas, beyond what it saw as its original purpose.