Britain’s Ofcom wants to regulate streaming services Apple TV+, Netflix,…

The UK wants to bring streaming services like Apple TV+, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime to heel. The UK government wants the platforms in question to be able to be regulated as linear broadcasters under a “White Paper” guidance document.

UK follows France

As Deadline reports, UK regulator Ofcom, which currently oversees TV network content, will be responsible for applying and enforcing guidelines for streaming services, which are not currently subject to the Broadcasting Code. It is the equivalent of the chronology of the French media which has just been changed to precisely integrate these new actors.

The changes would require video-on-demand services to ensure their audiences are protected from harmful or offensive content and that the principles of fairness, accuracy and privacy are applied.

The document outlines possible penalties for breaching the code, with offending video-on-demand services facing a fine of £250,000 or up to 5% of the organization’s revenue, the amount the highest being retained.

isoft netflix header

For now, these rules only apply to large streaming apps. Although Apple TV+ is not a giant streaming service, it is owned by the most valuable company in the world, which puts it directly at the top of the list with the competitors mentioned.

Linear broadcasters have been pushing for several years to have these guidelines applied to streamers. Netflix reacted to the proposal, saying it welcomes moves to update the legal framework.

We look forward to reviewing the other proposals in the white paper and continuing to engage with the government on their plans.

A way also to encourage competition by smaller companies:

Thanks to these changes, the British public will be better protected against harmful content and will be better able to complain to Ofcom if they see something they are concerned about. Respecting freedom of expression and proportionality issues, smaller and less risky on-demand services in the UK will continue to operate under existing rules.

The document also highlights the problem of global players such as Google, Amazon and Apple who already have immense power:

These new global players – the Googles, Amazons and Apples of this world – are successful because they offer convenience and integration. But the growing power of these actors, and the data they have at their fingertips, will inevitably impact how rights of access, transportation and prominence are negotiated in the future. While increased range and ownership of distribution platforms generates potential benefits in terms of consumer choice and innovation, there is a risk that the broadcasters we know and love in the UK are all simply ousted.

Good news for consumers, a new obstacle for Apple and its ilk. What do you think ?

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