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Ofcom to regulate VoD services in the UK

MUMBAI: The regulation of ‘video-on-demand’ programme services in the UK is being brought fully within Ofcom to sit alongside its regulation of broadcast content.

The move follows an Ofcom review to ensure regulation of broadcast and on-demand content remains as effective and efficient as possible for the benefit of consumers, audiences and industry.

The review included the current co-regulatory arrangements for video-on-demand services. These can include catch-up TV and on-demand services on the TV and the internet. Ofcom designated the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) in 2010 as a co-regulator to take the lead in regulating editorial content for video-on-demand services.

Following the review, Ofcom has decided that acting as sole regulator for video-on-demand programmes is a more effective model for the future than having two separate bodies carrying out this work. This will create operational efficiencies and allow editorial content on video-on-demand to sit alongside Ofcom’s existing regulation of broadcasting.

Video-on-demand services have become increasingly popular among viewers. The proportion of adults aged 15 and over that watch video-on-demand services has increased from 27 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent in 2014, according to Ofcom research.

ATVOD has played an important, effective role in regulating on-demand TV over the past five years. Like Ofcom, it is committed to protecting audiences from harmful content.

ATVOD and Ofcom are therefore working closely together to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities so that audiences, especially children, remain protected at all times.

As co-regulator for on-demand services, Ofcom already has concurrent responsibility to act in addition to, or in place of, ATVOD. From 1 January 2016, Ofcom will take sole responsibility for regulating video-on-demand programme services. The Advertising Standards Authority will continue to act as a co-regulator for advertising content on video-on-demand services.