Channel Five Pulls Out Of BBC’s Project Canvas But Orange Negotiating To Replace Them

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BBC Channel Four ITVJust when Project Canvas was coming together, one of the seven joint partners decides to pull out of the venture altogether. Thankfully, it looks as though there is a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings.

Project Canvas

Project Canvas

emerged when Kangaroo died before its time. The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Arqiva, TalkTalk, and BT had ambitions to build a content platform along with set-top carrying that platform.

Despite objections from the usual parties – BSkyB, Virgin Media – the BBC Trust recently approved Canvas, and work has now begun on turning the idea into a viable product. It will likely be renamed YouView (combining YouTube and Freeview) before launch.

Channel Five Leaves

Channel Five recently announced it was pulling out of Project Canvas. This isn’t too surprising as the TV channel has been put up for sale by its parent company RTL. A commitment to pay for and help develop YouView could potentially put buyers off.

Charles Constable, director of strategy at Five, told The Guardian:

“We continue to support the objectives of Project Canvas and despite withdrawing our interest in the venture we believe it will be a critical part of our strategy for reaching consumers in the future.”

A few days later and there is speculation another company is set to take Five’s place in the partner line-up.

Orange Steps In?

According to Digital Spy, mobile network operator Orange is currently in negotiations to take Five’s place. Even before Five had decided to part ways with the project, another partner was rumored to be being sought. And it looks like Orange is about to come on board.

Again, this wouldn’t be all that surprising as Orange is known to be interested in IPTV services. In France it already operates some, and it was very close to acquiring the remnants of Project Kangaroo before Arqiva beat them to it.


Project Canvas, or YouView as it’s very likely to be officially renamed soon, is still shaping up nicely. And the departure of Channel Five shouldn’t knock it off course. If Orange comes on board then all the better, but it isn’t a necessity for this thing to move forward.