Tag Archives: Channel 4

U.K. Antitrust Body Won’t Investigate Project Canvas

The U.K. Office of Fair Trading won’t investigate Project Canvas, the joint venture to bring Internet content and new video-on-demand services to television. The OFT has decided that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to review Project Canvas under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 as none of the partners, including the British Broadcasting Corp., contributes an existing business to the venture.

The BBC started the project, contributing only existing research and development rather than a separate business unit. The contributions of the other joint venture partners will be primarily financial. Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV PLC, BT Group PLC, RTL Group SA’s Five, Channel 4, TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC and Arqiva Ltd. The partners plan to launch the project around Christmas.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, a relevant merger situation is created if two or more enterprises cease to be distinct and if the value of U.K. revenue of the business being taken over exceeds £70 million. It also applies if a 25% share of supply in the U.K. is created as a result of a transaction. The project, which will allow U.K. viewers to watch free-to-air broadcasts and Internet content on television, will help traditional broadcasters attract new audiences while retaining existing viewers who have turned to the Internet for entertainment.

Project Canvas partners welcomed the OFT decision, noting the joint venture wouldn’t own, control or aggregate any content. “Project Canvas aims to create an open platform that delivers a connected future for free-to-air TV and a competitive market for internet-connected TV services in the U.K. The Project Canvas partners are committed to achieving that aim,” Project Canvas director Richard Halton said in a statement.

In December last year, the BBC’s controlling trust provisionally approved the corporation’s involvement in Project Canvas, saying that “the likely public value of the proposal justifies any potential negative market impact.” Watching TV programs online has increased in popularity, aided by the BBC’s on-demand Internet-TV service, iPlayer. Commercial broadcasters are exploring ways to distribute their programs to boost advertising. Project Canvas has faced criticism from pay-TV companies, particularly British Sky Broadcasting PLC, which cites a lack of independent scrutiny for the project. News Corp., the owner of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., holds about a 39% stake in BSkyB.


Facebook is the UK’s fastest growing video site

Facebook is the fastest growing video site in the UK over the last year, according to new comScore data.

The latest comScore data reveals that during February 2010, 43 million videos were watched on Facebook – which is a 205 per cent increase on the year. Last February only 14 million videos were watched via the site. Overall online video viewing in the UK has grown by 37 per cent during the last 12 months – with 5.5 billion videos watched via websites during February 2010. Google properties, mainly driven by YouTube, were still the most popular online video destinations, recording 2.5 billion video views during February 2010, which marked a 17 per cent annual increase.

The BBC websites ranked second with 140 million videos viewed across its web properties during February 2010, and was followed by Megavideo, which recorded 53 million video views – during the same month.

Facebook came fourth in the list, closely followed by Microsoft’s collective web properties. Channel 4 came in sixth position with 39 million videos watched during February 2010 – which was a 76 per cent increase on the year. And ITV came in eighth position recording 29 million video views – which was a 134% increase on the year.

Blinkx, the popular video search engine experienced the second largest growth spurt, behind Facebook, increasing its video views by 205 per cent over the year. During February 201, 29 million videos were viewed via the site.

Sky came in 10th position, experiencing a 139 per cent increase in video views, with 20 million videos watched via its sites during February 2010.

The UK video market has grown substantially over the last year, with several aggregators entering the market, as well as the UK broadcasters increasing their own video presence. Channel 4, for instance, is concentrating on developing its own catch up service, 4oD, while signing syndication deals with the likes of YouTube, and new players, like SeeSaw.


Almost half of media workers start with unpaid jobs, says training body

Entry into creative jobs still based on ‘who you know’ culture, says Skillset, urging pay for graduate internships

Almost half of with jobs in the creative media – 44 percent – did unpaid work to get into their industry, research issued by the training body Skillset has found. Skillset said that entry into the sector still remains often informal and open to the “who you know” culture, rather than ensuring open opportunities for all. In an effort to counteract this, it has issued Monday best practice guidelines and case studies about a range of schemes, with feedback from interns at a large selection of media organisations, from the BBC, which offers 1,000 work experience places year, to Global Radio, which has a commercial programming internship scheme. Animation company Framestore has internships for junior animators and Channel 4’s 4Talent schemes offers six paid three month internships. Skillset said that media organisations should pay at least the minimum wage to anyone on a graduate internship, which should last no more than three to six months with working weeks of no more than 40 hours. Work experience should be limited to 160 hours and expenses should be reimbursed

Virgin Media signs video Web deal with Brightcove

Cable TV operator Virgin Media has chosen online video publisher Brightcove to provide and support short videos for its more than 11 million monthly website visitors. The two firms said in a statement that Virgin Media would use the Brightcove platform to carry its online news, music and entertainment content alongside adverts. The Nasdaq-listed British cable firm, which has recently launched an online music video service, said Virginmedia.com would be at the heart of its entertainment line-up. Media companies around the world are increasingly making their content available online, to reach new users and the advertising money that is available on the Web. Brightcove has said it has also seen an increase in companies asking about their services since the start of the economic downturn, as they look to launch new services but hold back the costs. Brightcove, which is privately held, already has partnerships with British broadcasters ITV Channel 4, Five, BSkyB and STV. The firm last week announced a deal with Turner Broadcasting to support its content throughout Europe.


Project Canvas kicks off advertising pitch

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


BBC gives go-ahead for free online TV service

The BBC Trust has given the provisional go-ahead to Project Canvas, a video-on-demand joint venture that offers free-to-air broadcasts and internet content on -television.

The governing body of the BBC said it was setting conditions after reviewing more than 800 consultation responses from industry and individual stakeholders. The likely public value of the proposal, it said, justified any potential damaging effect on the market.

The venture between the BBC, ITV, BT Group, Five, Channel 4 and Carphone Warehouse, will see set-top boxes made available to access on-demand television services such as the BBC’s iPlayer and ITVPlayer.

The set-top boxes are expected to cost about £200 and could be on sale next year. Users will have access to websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr via their televisions. Electronic mail could be used if keyboards were added.

Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis, said Canvas would have little effect on the television market until boxes with its software cost less than £50.

“Initial take-up will depend on how much BT, Carphone Warehouse and other service providers are willing to subsidise Canvas set-top boxes,” he said.

Trust approval did not mean Canvas would necessarily escape further scrutiny from the Office of Fair Trading, Mr Maude said.

The project, designed to strengthen free-to-air broadcasters, has come under fire from pay TV groups such as BSkyB, which says the BBC’s involvement raises potential state aid issues.

Graham McWilliam, director of corporate affairs for BSkyB, said: “There is no need for public money to be spent on replicating what’s set to be delivered through commercial investment.

“Consumers will not benefit if the BBC’s role in Canvas prevents other innovative services


Greg Dyke calls for end to BBC Trust and rightly ‘puts the boot’ into ‘laughable’ James Murdoch

Greg Dyke, the former BBC director-general, has launched a scathing attack on the UK TV establishment, calling for the BBC Trust to be abolished and condemning James Murdoch’s recent criticisms of the BBC.

Delivering the Royal Television Society’s Christmas Lecture, Dyke said the decision to form the BBC Trust was ill-founded and instead a public service broadcasting regulator should be formed.

Labelling the BBC a “500 pound gorilla”, Dyke said “quite a lot of us did warn that this system of governance [the BBC Trust] wouldn’t work at the time it was created”.

 He added: “The truth is the Trust is unduly slow and bureaucratic, expensive to run and creates inbuilt conflict within the organisation. It has left the BBC without a supportive board or chairman and the Director General without the “cover” any chief executive needs.”

Dyke believes “logically Ofcom should become the regulator of the BBC” but he added that an “of-PSB” could be created and take responsibility for regulating the BBC, Channel Four and any other public service broadcasters.

Meanwhile, Dyke did not relent when reviewing the state of the rest of British TV. Referring to James Murdoch’s now infamous attack on the BBC in his MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Dyke said Murdoch’s assertion that the BBC operated as a state sponsored media was “laughable”.

He said: “James finished his lecture by saying ‘the only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.’ That has to be a joke coming from someone running an organisation where every single one of its 175 newspapers around the world supported the war in Iraq. Where’s the independence there?”

However, Dyke did state support for Murdoch’s plan to start charging for content online. He said he agreed “with a lot of what James said in his MacTaggart. He is right about the threat of piracy, I hope News International’s bold move in charging on the internet works and pays off.”

In a wide-ranging speech on the state of the UK media sector, Dyke warned that Five’s future was uncertain. He said that Five has “no real chance “of surviving as an independent channel, adding that it is “just a matter of who buys it or who it merges with and when”.

However, he predicted good fortune for Channel 4, which is searching for a new chief executive to replace Andy Duncan. He said new chairman Terry Burns “will add a degree of stability at an unstable time” but warned the big challenge for Channel 4 “will be to work out what Channel 4 is and what it’s for in the new world”.


Courvoisier to be first brand to air 3D spot on UK TV during Channel 4’s ‘3D Week’

Courvoisier is to become the first brand to run 3D TV advertising in the UK.  The spot, which will air during Channel 4’s ‘3D Week’ next month, will be shown during several shows, including The Queen In 3D and The Greatest Ever 3D Moments.

Channel 4’s ‘3D Week’ is sponsored by Sainsbury’s, which will distribute 3D specs in its stores but will not run any 3D TV ads.

During the week the broadcaster will be showing 3D versions of its idents, in which the camera pans around structures to reveal the ‘4’ logo. Throughout this year, Courvoisier, the UK’s biggest cognac brand, has been targeting a younger audience. The 3D ad will support its ‘Mixability’ campaign, which encourages drinkers to use Courvoisier as an ingredient in cocktails.

Other activity in the drive includes an iPod Touch application that suggests ways to mix the drink. Courvoisier, the Beam Global-owned brand, has also been running a series of experiential activity through.


Aunty Beeb takes her iPlayer ‘toys’ home and won’t play nicely with the other children

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

Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2009/10/21/bbc-rejects-calls-open-iplayer-technology-itv-channel-4/2/#ixzz0UcIgcaN3