Channel 4 and TalkTalk join Project Canvas

digital tube

Terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 and phone and broadband provider TalkTalk have joined the expanding Project Canvas online TV platform.

With the BBC, ITV, and Five already on board along with BT, Channel 4 becomes the last remaining terrestrial broadcaster to commit to the venture, which aims to bring free on-demand content from the UK's major broadcasters to Freeview and Freesat users via broadband.

By signing up, Channel 4 and TalkTalk have committed to invest in the ongoing development of the platform, which ccording to BBC figures will cost its stakeholders just shy of 100 million over the first four years.

However, in announcing the latest developments, Project Canvas has stated it wants to widen the net still further, and is hoping to see expressions of interest from other companies "who share a similar vision for internet-connected TV".

"The six partners will now seek expressions of interest from other companies, who share a similar vision for internet-connected TV, to become partners in the joint venture that will promote and run the platform," the release said.

Programme director Richard Halton commented: "The potential for innovation goes far beyond bringing video-on-demand to the TV set and there's a huge opportunity for a wide range of new commercial models to thrive. We always wanted all the UK's public service broadcasters and at least two ISPs to be involved in the venture at launch, so we're delighted that Channel 4 and Talk Talk have joined the project."

It its own statement announcing the move, TalkTalk senior director Max Alexander said the company was looking forward to rolling up its sleeves and getting stuck in. "We're pleased to support Project Canvas and believe that it will be of great interest to our four million customers."

Despite the project continuing to gather momentum, it still faces one major obstacle: the BBC Trust has yet to officially give the project the green light, without which it can't proceed.

Approval is likely to be decided on early next year, though video-on-demand rival BSkyB has questioned the Trust's decision not to conduct a full market impact assessment for Project Canvas.