Ping – Apple’s new social media network, will allow users to follow friends’ music interests working in a stream of updates similar way to Facebook or Twitter Having cornered the MP3 player, mobile phone and computer tablet markets with the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices respectively, last night Apple announced its latest expansion – into social media – with Ping. Ping will be integrated into Apple’s latest iTunes software update and will enable users, or “Pingers”, to follow musicians, friends and others to see details including what music they’re buying and what concerts they’re attending. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman and chief executive, said the information will arrive in a long stream of updates, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. “Be as private or as public as you want. The privacy is super-easy to set up,” he said adding that users can choose to automatically accept followers or decide on a follower-by-follower basis – similar sounding controls to those on Twitter. The service is available immediately to more than 160 million iTunes users, Jobs said, and will also be available across the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges.
Project Canvas, the proposed on-demand web TV venture, is looking for an agency to handle its UK advertising account. The service, which is backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT and TalkTalk, is planning to approach agencies with a view to holding a pitch for the business.
The successful agency will be responsible for handling all of Project Canvas’ ad campaigns, with the venture due to spend almost £50 million on marketing and brand development in its first four years. Project Canvas is due to launch its set-top boxes later this year, which will allow consumers to access each of the participating broadcasters’ video-on-demand offerings, as well as giving people access to internet content on their TV screens. Research conducted last year predicts that, by 2014, Project Canvas could reach up to 3.5 million homes.
However, the venture still faces problems, such as keeping set-top box costs down and finding a way around bandwidth bottlenecks.
News of the advertising pitch comes a month after the BBC Trust, the governing body of the BBC, gave its provisional approval to the organisation’s involvement in the project
In a decision that is likely to deject many broadcasters who were keen to tap into BBC’s iPlayer platform, the BBC Trust has apparently rejected a proposal from BBC to create an Open iPlayer federation which would have given other broadcasters access to its much vaunted video on demand platform.
The concept which was entitled as Project Marquee essentially involved Channel 4, Five and ITV and was aimed at distributing their content through the BBC iPlayer in what was termed as a “combination of commercial and public service elements”.
Explaining the rationale behind rejecting the proposal, BBC Trustee Diane Coyle in a statement mentioned “We concluded, Open iPlayer plans in their proposed form, combining both commercial and public service elements, were too complicated. We were not convinced that there was enough potential value to licence fee payers in public service part of the proposal”
Even though the trust rejected the proposal on the grounds that it appeared too complex to work out in an effective manner, it did acknowledge the value that iPlayer offers and in principle agreed to the idea of sharing its technology with other broadcasters at a later date if they come across suitable alternate proposals that are fair and on a commercial basis.
So all it not lost it seems. The BBC Trust could potentially changed its mind at a later stage and allow its rival broadcasters to distribute content on the platform as well. Both Channel 4 and ITV have participated with BBC on other projects such as Freeview, Freesat and Canvas as well as the failed Kangaroo
Not withstanding that the UK’s own Wapping-based King Canute is set to try and strong arm the world’s news content publishing industry into forcing the public to pay for access to its online content, now these same charlatans of ‘open standards’ and ‘capitalist competition’ and ‘innovation for all’ are arguing for access to the BBC Canvass project. When new digital set-top boxes that lay at the heart of this project hit the shelves, viewers will watch internet-based services such as the iPlayer via their TV as part of an attempt to play catch-up with money grasping pay-TV rivals such as Sky. If the government caves in watch the prices for these boxes rocket skyward as the ‘paid for content’ project – a way of denying the online world up-to-date or even accurate news – takes another nasty step forward.
Canvas, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, BT and Five, is set to materialise in time for Christmas 2010 when new digital set-top boxes — expected to be priced between £100 and £200 — are expected to hit shelves.
The boxes will allow viewers to watch internet-based services such as the iPlayer via their TV as part of an attempt to play catch-up with pay-TV rivals such as Sky.
Sky is not complaining about the BBC’s plans to use the internet to deliver programming to TV sets via a set-top box, instead the satellite broadcaster is concerned the corporation will “stifle innovation” in the market.
The company believes the BBC licence-fee funded attempt to establish its own platform rather than contributing to an industry-standard system for delivering online content to TV sets will impede new developments in the market.
Stephen Nuttall, Sky’s commercial director, said: “They shouldn’t go off and do their own thing and use their unique funding to drive a coach and horses through the market development.”
Sky wants the Trust to force the BBC to allow anybody — not just public service broadcasters — to join Canvas. The company’s SkyPlayer could potentially be incorporated into Project Canvas.
Sky’s submission to the BBC Trust will be published today, while the BBC has not yet revealed how much it is investing in Project Canvas.