According to government recommendations, services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney might face greater tighter UK regulations.
Traditional broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV must adhere to the Ofcom code, which addresses concerns such as injury, offence, accuracy, and impartiality. However, the majority of streaming platforms do not.
The UK government has proposed tighter regulations for television streaming giants such as Netflix & Amazon Prime — as well as a consultation into whether to privatise Channel 4.
— Warwick Newsroom (@warwicknewsroom) June 23, 2021
The administration has announced that it will review the restrictions to see whether they might be strengthened.
Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed a consultation on whether Channel 4 should be privatized.
The broadcaster is currently supported by advertisements, but it is still publicly owned.
“What is potentially dangerous?
‘Potentially dangerous‘ is a term used to describe something that has the potential to be detrimental.
The BBC iPlayer is currently the only streaming platform that must adhere to Ofcom’s broadcasting code. If the tighter UK regulations are broken, the regulator can levy fines and suspend licenses.
Streaming firms with head and editorial offices in the UK, such as Amazon Prime and Disney+, but not Netflix, are subject to separate rules governing incitement to hatred and other “harmful material.”
Currently, a statement on the Ofcom website states that “Netflix is based in the Netherlands and so outside of Ofcom’s jurisdiction.”
Some businesses, such as Netflix’s age rating agreement with the British Board of Film Classification, have implemented their own voluntary methods (BBFC). According to the government’s declaration on Wednesday, there is currently an “inconsistent, ad hoc, and potentially damaging regulatory gap.”
“Technology has altered broadcasting, but the laws safeguarding viewers and helping our established channels compete are from the analogue age,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in announcing the changes.
“Now is the moment to consider how we can maximize the potential of our public service broadcasters while also ensuring that viewers and listeners who consume information in new formats are served by a fair and efficient system.”
“As a result, we’ll be looking into how we can help Channel 4 maintain its position at the core of British broadcasting while also levelling the playing field between broadcasters and video-on-demand businesses.”
Mr Dowden chastised Netflix last year for episodes in its acclaimed drama series The Crown that had historical mistakes. According to the latest numbers from Ofcom, subscribers viewed subscription streaming services for one hour and eleven minutes per day in April 2020, up from one hour and eleven minutes the previous year.
In 2019, two out of every five streaming service users told Ofcom they could see themselves watching no broadcast TV at all in five years.
We reached out to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ for comment.
‘Public service comes first’
Changes to streaming tighter UK regulations and Channel 4’s ownership may be included in a new media law that will be revealed in a white paper this autumn. Channel 4 executives warned on Tuesday that privatization could make it less likely to develop programming that isn’t financially enticing, despite the fact that the company’s current priority is “not about the bottom line.”
“We are always, in all the judgments we make, able to put public service before profit,” CEO Alex Mahon told a committee of MPs.
“When you run a commercial business, your priorities must alter. They have no choice. As a result, you’ll have to make alternative choices. You must consider shareholder returns.