Ofcom will become solely responsible for regulating video on-demand services in the UK from next year.
In 2010, Ofcom designated the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) as a co-regulator to take the lead in regulating editorial content for video-on-demand services, which include catch-up TV and on-demand services through both the TV and the web.
Following a review, though, it has been decided that the most efficient and effective model for regulating VOD programmes is to bring the process fully in-house at Ofcom, to sit alongside its regulation of traditional broadcast content. The move will take place from 1st January 2016. The Advertising Standards Authority will continue to act as a co-regulator for advertising content on VOD services.
The decision arrives as the popularity of VOD spreads across the country, with the proportion of adults aged 15 and over watch on-demand services rising more than doubling in recent years – from 27 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent in 2014.
“ATVOD has played an important, effective role in regulating on-demand TV over the past five years,” says Ofcom. “Like Ofcom, it is committed to protecting audiences from harmful content. ATVOD and Ofcom are therefore working closely together to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities so that audiences, especially children, remain protected at all times.”
However, the Guardian notes that some online VOD services will not be included within Ofcom’s remit, as content is delivered from outside of the UK. This includes Netflix and YouTube. Amazon, though, is delivered from the UK’s subsidiary company, so its Prime Instant Video content will be regulated by Ofcom, alongside SVOD rival NOW TV and catch-up services such as All 4 and BBC iPlayer.