The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had concluded that the start-up joint venture known as “Project Canvas” does not fall under the scope of the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. Project Canvas is a partnership between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, Talk Talk, and Arqiva. The project aims to create a platform to allow viewers to watch internet content via their television sets. It was developed after similar a proposal, “Project Kangaroo”, involving BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, and ITV, was blocked by the Competition Commission (CC) in 2009. Unlike Project Kangaroo, Project Canvas is a start-up operation and does not involve the transfer of a pre-existing business into the new joint venture vehicle nor will Project Canvas have any role in aggregating, marketing or directly retailing any television content owned by the parent companies. Therefore, technically the arrangement does not fall within the OFT’s merger jurisdiction. The OFT however cautioned that this does not preclude the application of competition law to the conduct of the JV and its parent companies in the future or the application of other relevant regulatory legislation.
Office of Fair Trading Press Release on Project Canvas
To view the OFT’s Press Release on the Decision click here.