Business and tech

UK tightens regulations for streaming services

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Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services will be subject to new regulations that will bring them in line with traditional broadcasters.

According to the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries,  the proposal for Ofcom regulation would protect audiences from harmful content. The reforms are outlined in a government White Paper, which serves as a policy document. The proposals, released by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), aim to usher in a “new golden age” of British television and “help the nation’s public service broadcasters thrive.” Culture Secretary Dorries described the UK television and radio industries as “the envy of the world,” noting that they are “driven by exceptional talent that is delivering groundbreaking public service programming.” “Today, we are giving British broadcasters the backing and support they need to rule the airwaves for years to come, set against the backdrop of the digital transformation of our viewing habits, today’s plans will revamp decades-old laws to help our public service broadcasters compete in the internet age.” When asked about privatising Channel 4, she stated that “the money we will get from the capital from the sale will be invested back into that sector, into training and skills.” She mentioned “at least 18 or 19 independent film studios opening in the UK next year,” as well as the fact that there are people “all over the UK” who want to work in the creative industries, and the importance of “putting money back into training, into those areas that need levelling up.”

 

While linear TV channels are currently subject to Ofcom regulations, most video-on-demand (VoD) services are not. The proposed changes would require VoDs to protect their audiences from potentially harmful or offensive content, as well as to follow rules governing accuracy, fairness, and privacy. The move will be welcomed by public service broadcasters (PSBs), who have been lobbying for several years for streaming services to be subject to the same regulations as them. The government stated that the new rules would “level the playing field” for “TV-like” VoD services such as Netflix, ITV Hub, and Now. The BBC iPlayer is currently the only VoD service that must follow Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code. However, the proposals mean that Ofcom would have the authority to create and enforce a new VoD Code to ensure that all streamers follow stricter rules. The government stated that the maximum fine for regulated VoD services that violate the rules will be £250,000, or up to 5% of an organisation’s revenue, whichever is greater.

Written by: Relaks Radio

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