Project Canvas is a proposed joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Talk Talk and Arqiva to build an open internet-connected platform, with common technical standards, in relation to internet connected television. The OFT has confirmed that this joint venture falls outside the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 ("EA02") and so it does not have jurisdiction to investigate further.
Under EA02, a relevant merger situation arises when two or more enterprises cease to be distinct. The BBC is contributing to the Canvas JV existing research and development whilst contributions from the other joint venture partners are primarily financial. The OFT has decided that none of the joint venture partners are contributing pre-existing businesses and so there are no "enterprises" being transferred to the joint venture that will cease to be distinct. This transaction therefore differs fundamentally from the "Project Kangaroo" joint venture which involved the contribution of video-on-demand content and other pre-existing businesses to a JV and which was blocked by the CC in February 2009. The joint venture partners will also not have any material influence over the joint venture, an additional reason why the OFT found it had no merger review jurisdiction.