Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video could face tougher regulations regarding misinformation and harmful content. A consultation has been launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to examine how streaming and video-on-demand services could be aligned in content standards with terrestrial broadcasters like Sky, ITV and Sky.
Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code applies to BBC shows, but not to streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV+ and Prime Video. Broadcasting Code outlines expectations regarding offensive material, accuracy and fairness, as well privacy.
This consultation is coming as Ofcom data shows an enormous rise in the popularity of On-Demand Services nationwide. Between 2014 and 2020, the number of households who subscribed to at least one streaming platform increased by nearly 350 percent. 75% of households in the UK will have subscribed to a streaming service by 2021.
DCMS states that standards can vary greatly between streaming service providers. The Government department welcomed the introduction of content warnings and PIN codes by some streaming services in an initial report. This is to protect younger viewers against harmful content. The Government department cautions, however that the extent of such measures can vary between services.
Age ratings are one example of such inconsistency. DCMS has described them as “inconsistent” and “sometimes non-existent” among rival streaming services. These platforms were primarily designed and constructed by US companies.
DCMS stated that the consultation may result in “audiences, particularly children,” receiving a consistent level protection for video-on demand services. No matter if you are watching a Disney+ show, Prime Video or BBC iPlayer you can rest assured that the protections and editorial standards will be applied.
DCMS raised concerns about “minimal” content regulation. There are currently no regulations to prevent audiences from misleading information or false science documentaries.
YouTube is not yet subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code. YouTube commissions, broadcasts, and uploads user-uploaded videos. Although YouTube is not always in the same league as Amazon Prime and Netflix, it shares many of the same problems: inconsistent age ratings and little regulation regarding pseudoscience or false claims.
The DCMS states that not all video-on-demand services offer a TV-like viewing experience. Therefore, any regulation change must be balanced, especially for niche or smaller services. This suggests that YouTube may fall outside the scope of this initial consultation.
Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, spoke out about the consultation. “We want to give UK viewers peace of mind that whatever device they use to watch television, their favorite shows are being held to the same high standards as British broadcasting.”
He said: “It’s right that we have now left the EU. We look at introducing proportionately new rules to ensure that UK audiences are safe from harm.”
For eight weeks, the consultation will be open. The consultation will end October 26, at 23:45.
Publiated at Sun, Sep 5, 2021 11:07:09 +0000