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Streaming giants could be regulated by Ofcom as part of policy proposal

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Today, the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a policy paper which sets out a number of proposals which are designed “to protect our mixed ecology, and ensure public service broadcasters remain at the heart of our plans.”

One of the proposals included within the document is the suggestion that Video on Demand (VOD) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime could be regulated by the communications regulator Ofcom as part of a new “Video on Demand Code” which would make the platforms “subject to stricter rules protecting UK audiences from harmful material.”

The Ofcom regulation of the streaming services would bring them into regulatory alignment with traditional TV channels such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 which are already regulated by Ofcom.

Within the white paper, it is suggested that the penalty for non-adherence to the proposed regulatory framework would be a fine of £250,000 or up to 5% of the streaming services revenue, depending on which would result in a greater penalty.

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Commenting on the policy paper, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries MP said: “The UK’s creative economy is a global success story. Our production sector is booming, UK-created content is in demand, and our mixed broadcasting ecology is admired internationally.”

Dorries added: “Our TV and radio industry is already the envy of the world. Today, we are giving British broadcasters the backing and support they need to rule the airwaves for years to come.”

Dorries concluded by saying that the announcement today “will revamp decades-old laws to help our public service broadcasters compete in the internet age.”

Responding to the idea that streaming services could be regulated, a Netflix spokesperson said the company are “supportive of measures to update the legal framework and bring our service in the UK under Ofcom’s jurisdiction.”

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