The Government has denied it has been too slow to act in securing prominence for Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) on Smart TVs.
It follows criticism from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that legislation to back-up Ofcom’s 2019 recommendations to update prominence legislation could take another two years.
PSBs including the BBC and ITV are concerned their streaming services may not enjoy the same prominence as their linear channels that are protected by the Communications Act 2003 and appear at the top of Electronic Programme Guides.
The Committee wants new legislation by 2022 that would extend prominence to online viewing platforms, such as Smart TVs. It fears broadcasters risk losing out to commercial streaming services that often purchase prominence on SmartTVs.
In its response to the latest stage of the Committee’s Public Service Review, the Government said: “It is important to ensure that prominence, and the balance of benefits and obligations, support a sustainable future for public service broadcasting. This work is ongoing and is also being considered as part of the Government’s strategic review of PSB.” It promised legislation later this year.
The Government agreed that streaming services should share top line viewing data with Ofcom to assist them with their analysis and evaluation of the PSB system and hoped this could be done on a voluntary basis
However. It said the Committee’s suggestion that PSB content could be marked with the appropriate logo was complex because of where the content may be hosted, and should be covered by a commercial agreement.