The ISBA, a trade body which represents UK advertisers, has joined a growing number of organisations requesting that communications regulator Ofcom investigates upcoming television platform YouView (formerly Project Canvas).
Bob Wootton, Director of Media and Advertising at the ISBA, reportedly told Marketing magazine: "The BBC Trust is a regulator for a publicly-funded, tax-backed business. Why has that been the sole point of regulation for something that is both hybrid and commercial? ISBA campaigns for openness and transparency. It was founded on that tenet. Internet-connected TV has new impacts for advertisers and we are not going to be bounced into anything that sets up a protective wall or quasi-monopoly."
The ISBA's submission joins a growing number of voices clamouring for an Ofcom investigation into the nascent YouView service, including the Open Source Consortium, local TV groups United for Local Television and Six TV, as well as potential competitors IP Vision and Virgin Media. The watchdog is currently reviewing all complaints regarding YouView, and is expected to announce its decision next month on whether to investigate the service.
A new report from corporate finance firm Avista Partners has also claimed that investment in the UK's IPTV sector is under threat from YouView, having declined by more than 90% since the initiative was announced.
"The UK has witnessed a dramatic fall in private investment for IPTV-based businesses since Project Canvas was first announced," stated Paul Heydon, Managing Director of Avista Partners. "It's difficult to lay the blame on the economic crisis for this, especially when directly comparing the extreme buoyancy of US investments in this sector for the same period […] it's clear the collective power of the companies behind Project Canvas is a major cause for concern for investors looking at private IPTV businesses in the UK."
The partners behind the YouView initiative - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva - officially formed the company YouView TV Ltd. last week, confirming that they plan to launch the service in the first half of 2011, which will offer new free-to-air Internet-connected TV services to UK homes via compatible CE devices.
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