Ofcom is proceeding with implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, publishing details of plans to accredit the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD) as the co-regulatory authority.
The AVMS Directive was originally controversial when it appeared it would extend TV-like regulation to online content featuring video. Such concerns were assuaged when the scope was later reduced. Ofcom says
“most importantly, there should be a policy of minimal scope”
The government has said:
- a) the definition in the AVMS Directive is narrow, covering only mass media services whose principal purpose is to provide television-like programming to users;
- b) any new co-regulator would be able to issue guidance on which services will fall into the scope of the new co-regulatory regime; and
- c) those whose role is only to provide access to other providers’ VOD services (“access providers”) will not bear the regulatory burden for those services. (This was intended to clarify the status of “platform providers” and “service providers”, and confirmed that compliance with the requirements of the Directive, as transposed into UK legislation, rests with the providers of VOD services rather that the providers of platforms, on which those services may appear, such as those operated by, for example, Sky or Virgin Media. This replicates the model in place for linear television, where individual channels and not platforms are regulated)