UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has published a report which assesses how easily today’s viewers can find public service broadcasters’ (PSB) channels, and local TV programmes. This is the watchdog’s first report which fulfils a new duty under the Digital Economy Act.
Alongside the report, Ofcom is consulting on updating the rules which give appropriate prominence within television guides to all of the BBC channels, ITV, STV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C and local TV channels.
The current Code gives providers of television guides a broad degree of flexibility around where to position these channels in their on-screen listings. Over time, this has led to some significant variations across guides, and some channels becoming less easy to find, depending on the platform and TV device used.
Accordingly, Ofcom is proposing to revise the EPG Code to ensure that all designated channels are easily discoverable and appropriately prominent across all on-screen programme guides.
Currently, prominence rules do not apply to television delivered via the Internet – for example, through video on-demand players, smart TVs or streaming sticks. Parliament would need to introduce new legislation, which Ofcom would support, to extend regulation to online platforms and services. Ofcom’s consultation puts forward ideas, and seeks views, on possible ways to safeguard PSB prominence in the online world.
The consultation is open until October 5th 2018.