Channel 5 returns to Project Canvas fold

Nick Clark
Wednesday 25 August 2010 00:00 BST

Channel 5 has rejoined Project Canvas just a month after walking away, as the broadcaster's new owner, Richard Desmond, said the venture would shape the future of TV.

In July, the broadcaster pulled out of Canvas, which is designed to bring internet TV to the living-room, over its unwillingness to cover its share of the £16m costs. Just weeks later, Channel 5 was sold by RTL to Mr Desmond's Northern & Shell for £103.5m.

The media tycoon has already made his mark at Channel 5 with a £20m cost-cutting drive, which left just two of the former management in place. The return to Canvas is another significant step in his strategy.

"Project Canvas is set to shape the future of broadcasting," Mr Desmond said. "This is important to the future of Channel Five and having an open internet-connected TV platform fits closely with our plans."

Canvas – whose partners also comprise BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Talk Talk and Arqiva – is slated to launch next April. Yet, it could be delayed after first Virgin Media and then IP Vision complained to Ofcom, the media watchdog, that it could restrict consumer choice.

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