United for Local Television (ULTV), the industry association of local TV operators in the UK, has asked Ofcom to fully investigate Project Canvas. In its view, Canvas risks seriously damaging the development of small-scale TV services in the UK.
According to ULTV, it shares the concerns already raised by SIX TV in its competition complaint to Ofcom about Canvas. It believes Canvas risks undermining competition by:
(i) requiring new TV services to meet a challenging and arbitrary technical specification to qualify for Project Canvas entry;
(ii) charging platform access fees unrelated to a service provider’s ability to pay;
(iii) placing new entrants in positions on the programme guide or in search and recommendations where they are hard to find;
(iv) allowing data relating to the use of services to be exploited for the commercial advantage of the JV partners; and/or
(v) preventing viewers from obtaining any streamed services on the open internet from TV channels who are (for whatever reason) unwilling or unable to meet the access terms and conditions imposed by the JV partners – thereby restricting consumer choice.
ULTV is already concerned that the proposed Canvas EPG will not conform to open technical standards.
It is also unhappy with the way some of the joint venture partners in Canvas have denied local TV operators access to the general entertainment section of the EPG on the DTT platform.