Convergence: New Distribution

The BBC, ITV and BT are to work together to bring on-demand content delivered to TVs into the mainstream, via a new kind of set-top box. The three companies have revealed plans to promote a common industry approach and consumer offer that will deliver on-demand TV over broadband.

The initiative, known as Project Canvas, will be open to all public service broadcasters, device developers and other ISPs, and is intended to include a wider group of partners by launch.

As well as TV sets, the plan is to make the service available on a new generation of subscription-free devices, carrying free to air channels and a huge selection of on demand TV services like iPlayer and ITV Player. There is also the potential for films, shows and interactive content from a range of other providers in standard and high definition.

Broadcast Magazine argues that this could provide ‘massive opportunities’ for content producers, stating that “If combo boxes are cheap enough and universally adopted then small content producers can bypass broadcasters entirely and make their way into the living room using ISPs, websites, aggregators or their own portals. And potentially get reasonably sized audiences.”

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