Price tag affixed to Project Canvas

BBC, ITV, Channel 5 backing the catch-up TV platform

LONDON -- Project Canvas, the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 backed catch-up TV platform, will cost £116 million ($192.3 million) in its first four years of operation, the BBC's governance body said Wednesday, adding that commercial partners can also joint the platform.

The figures were published as part of a progress update on the proposed Canvas service -- which aims to allow viewers to watch catch-up TV on their television sets.

The BBC hopes to attract further partners to the project to cut down the costs that each member has to meet, as broadcasters ITV and Channel 5 in particular have been hit hard by the advertising downturn. The pubcaster now will open the way for non-public service partners to join the platform.

Project Canvas will use the BBC's hugely successful iPlayer technology to deliver the service to Freeview digital terrestrial boxes and Freesat satellite viewers.

But the platform has been attacked by BSkyB, which says it could amount to an anti-competitive platform.

The BBC has set a deadline of Nov. 18th for relevant submissions.