Streaming services are facing tighter regulations in the UK

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Streaming services have become the go-to place for entertainment for millions of people around the world. I know we’ve been exclusively using streaming services for well over 10-years now. The need for broadcast and cable TV is almost non-existent.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In countries like the UK, broadcast TV and cable TV must comply with certain regulations and codes. For example, broadcasters must comply with Ofcom’s code covering issues like harm, offense, accuracy, and impartiality in the UK. Ofcom can be compared to the FCC in America and regulates what can be broadcast on the airwaves.

Currently, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and almost every other are not required to comply with Ofcom’s code. Presently, the only service that must follow the code is the BBC iPlayer service. If the BBC iPlayer is caught not following the code, they can be fined or suspended.

Separate rules regulating incitement to hatred and other “harmful material” apply to streaming services with head and editorial offices in the UK – which include Amazon Prime and Disney+, but not Netflix.

Currently, the Ofcom website contains a statement explaining that “Netflix is based in the Netherlands and therefore not within Ofcom’s jurisdiction.”

However, some services have introduced their own voluntary procedures – such as Netflix’s age rating partnership with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

In Wednesday’s announcement, the government said there was currently an “inconsistent, ad-hoc and potentially harmful gap in regulation.”

BBC

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden believes that subjecting streaming services to the same rules as broadcasters will level the playing field. Given that broadcasters have rules to play by that Netflix and others do not have.

This should be interesting to see how these rules would affect the content and services Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others provide in the UK.

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Last Updated on June 23, 2021.

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