LONDON: UK broadcasters the BBC and ITV are joining forces with telecoms giant BT to develop a broadband platform that will make video-on-demand services available on digital television sets by 2010.

The scheme, currently codenamed Project Canvas, will use a set-top box to make a range of current and archived TV and radio programmes available on-demand, along with films, online content and interactive services.

It is also part of the BBC's effort to forge partnerships with fellow UK public service broadcasters to help them meet an estimated annual funding shortfall of £235 million (€263m; $352m).

But Project Canvas will also be accessible to other broadcast and online operators.

Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, said he hoped the service would be launched in 2010, and argued it to be "potentially the holy grail of future public service broadcasting provision in the UK". 
ITV's executive chairman, Michael Grade, enthuses: "This proposal will bring catch-up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free. This makes convergence a reality."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff