VOD providers must fund regulation

UK video-on-demand providers must pay a combined £375,000 (E415,000) to two bodies that will regulate their industry.

The Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD) which has been confirmed by Ofcom to co-regulate, along with it, the VOD sector, says running costs for December 2009 to March 2011 are £426,388, and that the VOD providers themselves should pay fees totaling £375,000 between them to finance the operation for the 2010/11 fiscal year (the rest is public money).

Identifying those services which fall under the joint Ofcom-ATVOD auspice is problematic. The EC directive applies to “TV-like” services, which it says “must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality”; “must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material” and “sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements”.

After commissioning research in to the topic, Ofcom says the scope should extent to services that “provide access to programmes that compete for the same audience as television broadcasts, and therefore, are comparable to the form and content of programmes included in broadcast television services”. Only services that have editorial responsibility over their content are covered.

Ofcom is consulting on the fee structure for the 150 or so organisations it thinks will qualify with options including a flat fee per company, a payment based in turnover or a combination of the two.

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