Providers of on demand television services in the UK face a significant rise in the amount they pay to be regulated. Co-regulator the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD) says it faced a shortfall of £41,000 in the costs of carrying out its responsibilities during its first year of operation. This brings the total estimated costs for Year One to £467,307.
It has emerged that 19 service providers were approached in September 2010 with the assistance of the Broadband Stakeholder Group. Of these 10 companies agreed to pick up the funding. They were: Warner Bros. Entertainment UK; BSkyB; BT; Channel 4 and 4Ventures Ltd; The Walt Disney Company; FilmFlex Movies; Channel 5; ITV; TalkTalk TV; and Virgin Media. Notable absentees are some of the smaller VOD suppliers, many of whom are unhappy about the way ATVOD is operating.
ATVOD was established on March 18, 2010 after being designated by the communications regulator Ofcom as the co-regulator for VOD editorial content. A flat fee of £2,900 per year was to be paid for each on-demand programme service (ODPS).
To date 117 services have notified ATVOD, though the organization believes the year-end total will be closer to 129 services notifying and paying the full fee and a further three paying a concessionary £150. When a grant of £40,000 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is included, the total Year One income is £414,550, giving ATVOD a £52,757 deficit to carry into its second year of operation.
A series of proposals have now been put forward to deal with the £520,377 needed to fund ATVOD during 2011.
Possible options for the Year Two Fees
Proposal 1: Non-commercial ODPS providers (registered charities, community interest companies, not-for-profit companies operating in the public interest) pay a fee of £150 per service;
Proposal 2: “Micro-scale” commercial ODPS providers (with turnover of less than £50,000 per annum) pay a fee of £250 per service; and
Proposal 3: “Small-scale” commercial ODPS providers (with turnover of £50,000 to £100,000) pay a fee of £500 per service.
The consultation runs until April 1, 2011.