Government says there must be a level playing field between IPTV services and traditional broadcasters.
It’s proposing to close the loophole that currently allows unregulated IPTV services to appear on TV sets in the UK by designating additional regulated electronic programme guides.
The loophole currently allows services that don’t have an Ofcom licence to appear through apps on smart TVs. It’s also possible for unregulated content to feature on Freeview streaming channels. Ofcom currently forces Freeview streaming channels to show an on-screen message directing viewers to its website to find out more.
Additionally, the Government says it wants to legislate streaming providers “in a light touch manner”. Ofcom will be given to draft and enforce a new video-on-demand code, similar to the broadcasting code.
This will mean that larger on-demand streaming services will have the same or similar obligations as traditional broadcasters.
As a result, Netflix, Disney+ and others will need to demonstrate effective handling of complaints.
Ofcom tools to regulate video-on-demand, such as information gathering and enforcement powers, will also be brought in line with existing broadcasting regulation.
But increased conformity on protection tools and measures, like age ratings, PIN codes and warnings, will not be made compulsory.
Instead, Ofcom will be given an ongoing duty to assess on-demand providers’ audience protection measures.
The Government said smaller, “lower risk” on-demand services in the UK will continue under existing rules.
By Iain Hatton, features writer, RXTV
Updated 29/04/2022 20:47