Ofcom has reopened the debate into the regulation of on demand video services with a new study commissioned from Ipsos MORI.
Currently Ofcom does not even directly regulate VOD content, leaving it in the hands of industry-appointed regulator ATVOD. But members of the public interviewed for the study assumed that the regulation for broadcast and on demand television, including that received through connected TVs, were equal, expectations were only lowered for content received over the open internet.
Expectations were partly determined by the screen used, such as a large shared screen in living room versus personal PC or device, but also by the comparative ease of access to audio-visual content through a one-touch button or seamless link to VOD.
“Converged or connected TVs, which incorporate broadcast, video-on-demand and open internet services, are considered to be closer to a TV-like experience. Audiences therefore expect content over these devices to be more regulated than internet content accessed through PCs and laptops,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards in a speech to the Oxford Media Convention.
Richards said he believed it undesirable for new services to be open to the full extent of media regulation, but suggested a set of core principles should be established that would articulate a minimum set of standards.
Attitudes divided roughly into two distinct groups: the first, skewing slightly older, believed it was the regulators job to protect them from harm or offence, while the second younger skewing group believed they should be informed so as to make their own choices.
Most participants felt that regulation of content should be maintained or potentially increased in a converged world.