BBC's Project Canvas to Keynote IPTV World Forum

Informa Telecoms and Media are pleased to announce that Richard Halton will give an additional Keynote Presentation on the opening day  of the IPTV World Forum, held at London's Olympia on  25-27 March 2009

The IPTV World Forum is the world's largest event dedicated to IPTV & IP Video.

As Programme Director of IPTV for the BBC, Richard is responsible for Project Canvas, the proposal to bring internet connectivity to the UK's free to air platforms.

On 26th February The BBC Trust launched a consultation of Canvas to assess both the public value and the market impact of the initiative. Mr Halton's Keynote will provide an opportunity for the industry to hear in greater depth on the proposal, and make their own comment in the interactive Q&A session that follows. The IPTV World Forum is "one of a few key fora where we will unpack and explain the proposal in greater detail".

Halton Comments that Canvas is trying to meet two basic aims: "The first is to establish a standard based approach for delivering content to internet connected TV sets.

This does necessarily mean creating standard - there are plenty out there already - but bringing the relevant ones together. The intention is to avoid having to rewrite content for more and more devices, as we are increasingly having to do for iPlayer. In doing so we hope to follow the same standard based approach, in combination with brand, as we have with the Freeview satellite service, which is now in 14 million homes in the UK.

The second is all part of the free platforms initiative with Freeview and Freesat, ensuring continued choice within the TV market. There is a danger television viewers could ultimately be divided into two groups - those with internet connected functionality and those without. The BBC would like to ensure that, as before, there is a choice in TV between those who wish to take a subscription and those who don't. Whilst in the case of internet connected TV this is perhaps not as straight forward as it was with Freeview, given that some kind of broadband subscription will be required, now that 65% of UK homes have access to broadband it's not as big an issue as it might have been a couple of years ago."

Halton explains how the mandate of the BBC put it in a unique position to make a contribution to this work, given that most  IPTV deployments so far have not been implemented by content owners:

"The BBC is unusual in that it takes an audience led, content led approach, with the focus to maximise the amount of content available to these new connected devices. The BBC has only an audience interest, not a commercial interest, and promotes the needs of audience and the license payer."

The BBC is working in collaboration with the industry to develop the project : "We're working with ITV, have consulted with all ISPs about the role they might play, and received positive expressions of interest from quite a few, with BT being the first to come forward".

Ultimately the project could also have an impact outside the UK: "we have spoken with a number of Europe's leading broadcasters, and there is interest in the idea of a common platform. But we're still very early in the process."

About Richard Halton
As Programme Director of IPTV for the BBC, Richard is responsible for Project Canvas, the proposal to bring internet connectivity to the UK's free to air platforms. The plans were shared as part of the BBC's PSB Partnership announcements in December 2008 and are under consideration by the BBC Trust.

Prior to this, Richard was Controller, Business Strategy (2006-08), co-led Creative Future, the BBC's editorial strategy (2005-06) and was Controller Television Strategy (2003-05). He also sits on the board of Freeview.

Through these different roles Richard has been instrumental in shaping the BBC's response to the changing audience, competitive and technology environment, led the development of a number of the BBC's existing services and led teams responsible for many of the BBC's existing commercial and policy frameworks.

About IPTV World Forum
Attended by over 5000 attendees from 76 countries in 2008, the IPTV World Forum 2009 is the only place to meet all the key decision makers from all the IPTV markets in one place.  In 2009, the event features 215 speakers, all of whom are leading international experts from telecoms, cable, satellite and mobile operators and leading content owners. The IPTV world forum is run by Informa Telecoms & Media and is part of the IPTV World Series, a series of leading events across the globe dedicated to the IP and personal TV Industry.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Erica Palmer on Tel: +44 (0)20 7017 5361 or email

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