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SVoDs to face Ofcom scrutiny?

June 21, 2021

By Colin Mann

Reports have emerged that the UK government plans to regulate global OTT services in the same way as linear broadcasters.

The plans would see broadcast regulator Ofcom extend the same control over on-demand services, allowing it to rule on complaints over bias and inaccuracy, for example. It is anticipated that the proposals will feature in a forthcoming broadcasting white paper from culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

A government source told The Times newspaper that UK broadcasters are having to compete with SVoD services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime with one hand tied behind their backs. “The companies have deep pockets and go largely unregulated, leaving them free to impose their interpretation of British life,” said the source.

“The rules governing the way broadcasters operate were written for an analogue age. They are not fit for purpose in an era of smart TVs, streaming and on-demand programming. The culture secretary feels it is time to look at how we can level the playing field between broadcasters and video-on-demand services and make sure the UK’s broadcasting landscape is fit for the 21st century.”

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