Ofcom has published the framework for the regulation of video on demand services. The move is in line with the European Audiovisual Media Services Directive that requires services including the BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player and Demand Five to be regulated from December 19, 2009.
Such services are already available from Virgin Media, Sky and BT Vision, but the directive also calls for the regulation of services that are deemed ‘TV-like’, such as Arqiva’s SeeSaw, scheduled to launch in the New Year. However, electronic versions of newspapers and unmoderated user generated content won’t be included.
Regulation, although lighter than for broadcast services still adheres to basic principals on incitement to hatred, protection for minors, and programme sponsorship. The Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD), whose members include BT, Channel 4, Virgin Media, FilmFlex, IP Vision, but not BSkyB, has been named as a co-regulatory body for VOD editorial services.
BBC content will be regulated jointly by the BBC Trust and Ofcom, and does not fall under the co-regulatory arrangements.