Video-on-demand content to face tougher regulations

LONDON - Video-on-demand providers are to face a tougher regulatory regime when media minister James Purnell unveils a new code of conduct on 12 December.

Video-on-demand content to face tougher regulations
Video-on-demand content to face tougher regulations

At present, the Association of Television on Demand (ATVOD) – whose members include BT, Tiscali, and Virgin Media – self-regulates the industry.
But following MEPs’ May agreement over the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive – the replacement for the TV Without Frontiers Directive that currently governs Europe’s audiovisual sector – “television-like” non-linear TV services will now be regulated.
Wary of over-burdening an industry in its infancy, communications regulator Ofcom has decided not to regulate the sector itself.
Instead it has pushed for a system of co-regulation where ATVOD oversees the sector and Ofcom has so-called “backstop” powers to step in should serious breaches occur.
Now ATVOD has overhauled its code of conduct to incorporate new rules, which have been agreed by Ofcom and the DCMS.
Steve Middleton, senior ATVOD consultant, said: “We don’t want to be too prescriptive. We have tried to bring about a code that can change  with technological developments.”
However, not all VoD players will be covered by ATVOD’s code, including online VoD players such as YouTube, which are not covered by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

 

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