For the first time, streaming services like Apple TV+, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime could be regulated as linear broadcasters under the UK government’s new plans due to a ‘White Paper’ policy document. .
As reported by Deadline“UK regulator Ofcom, which currently oversees network television content, will be responsible for applying and enforcing guidelines on streaming services, which are currently not subject to the broadcasting code.”
The changes would require video-on-demand services to ensure their audiences are protected from harmful or offensive content, and that the principles of fairness, accuracy and privacy all apply.
The white paper outlines possible fines for breaching the code, with any roaming VoD service liable to pay £250,000 or a figure of up to 5% of the organisation’s revenue, whichever is greater.
From now on, these rules would only apply to larger streaming apps. Although Apple TV+ is not a giant streaming service, it is owned by the most valuable company in the world.
“These changes will mean the UK public will be better protected from harmful content and better able to complain to Ofcom if they see something they are concerned about. Respecting the issues of freedom of expression and proportionality, smaller and lower-risk on-demand services in the UK will continue under existing rules,” the white paper states.
The document also highlights the problem with global players such as Google, Amazon and Apple:
These new global players – the Googles, Amazons and Apples of this world – succeed because they offer convenience and integration. But the growing power of these actors and the data they have at their fingertips will inevitably impact how rights of access, distribution and visibility are negotiated in the future. While the increased range and ownership of distribution platforms generates potential benefits in consumer choice and innovation, there is a risk that the broadcasters we know and love in the UK will be simply ousted.
You can read the full whitepaper document here.
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