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YouView: 'We will boost IPTV investment'

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YouView
YouView, the online TV venture formerly known as Project Canvas, has dismissed claims that it will harm investment in the UK IPTV sector.

According to research conducted by corporate finance firm Avista Partners, investment in British IPTV businesses has declined by more than 90% since the launch of Canvas in September 2008.

Avista believes that Canvas, which counts the BBC, BT, TalkTalk, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arqiva as its members, poses a "significant threat" to the development of the sector.

In response, YouView has claimed that the online TV venture should be viewed as a spur for investment and growth in the UK rather than a hindrance.

"YouView should be considered a catalyst for investment in the UK, and not the contrary," said a spokeswoman for the venture.

"There is plenty of evidence to confirm that YouView will enable growth in IPTV and encourage investment in all levels of the market from content providers and suppliers to device manufacturers."

The project pointed to recent research conducted by investment firm JP Morgan, which indicated that YouView will "improve video on-demand, further broadband penetration, increase superfast broadband take-up, and will act to stimulate greater convergence between telecoms and TV".

The BBC Trust also noted in its consultation on Canvas/YouView that the venture has the potential to accelerate growth in the market for connected-TV devices by up to 70% by 2015.

However, YouView has faced consistent opposition from a variety of organisations, including Virgin Media, Sky and most recently advertising trade body the ISBA, on grounds that it will have a negative impact on market competition.

A major issue has been the involvement of the licence fee-funded BBC, which is viewed by many as a state-funded player trying to dominate the nascent IPTV sector.

Earlier in the year, financial services company Morgan Stanley said that Canvas/YouView could benefit both broadcasters and service providers by delivering an open evolution to the Freeview platform.

The firm said: "Canvas looks pro-competitive (breaking down platform barriers for content owners), but some media companies could still try to challenge its creation. It looks unlikely that this could freeze launch however as content is not being aggregated and the BBC shareholding will be only 16.6%."

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