Ofcom to regulate Amazon Prime Video

By Chris Dawson October 22, 2015 - 7:42 pm

You’ve probably never heard of ATVOD. Neither have most people but don’t worry, they’re losing a big chunk of their mandate at the end of the year.

The Authority for Television on Demand (or ATVOD for short), were appointed by Ofcom in 2010 as a co-regulator to take the lead in regulating editorial content for video-on-demand services.

Following an Ofcom review “to ensure regulation of broadcast and on-demand content remains as effective and efficient as possible for the benefit of consumers, audiences and industry”, Ofcom has decided that acting as sole regulator for video-on-demand programmes is a more effective model for the future than having two separate bodies carrying out this work.

Ofcom’s Communication Market Report 2015 shows the proportion watching video-on-demand services among adults aged 15+ has increased from 27% in the first half of 2010, to 57% in the second half of 2014. The figures are higher among younger audiences – 70% for 15-24s (second half of 2014) and 71% among 25-34s (second half of 2014) – up from 35% for both demographics since 2010.

These video-on-demand services do of course include Amazon Prime Video, as well as Netflix and Rakuten’s Wuaki services. All will be regulated under the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive which in the UK will be overseen by Ofcom .

Bad news for Jeremy Clarkson with his replacement show for Top Gear which will air on Amazon Prime in 2016, Ofcom were never his favourite people and now he’ll be regulated by them once again.

This is really just one more indicator that online video on demand services are becoming more mainstream. No one bothers too much about regulating the fringes of society, but as services become ingrained in our culture governments can’t help adding layers of red tape.

Will we one day see traditional broadcasters join the streaming media world? Many already have with catch up TV services, but as superfast broadband becomes the norm it’s just possible that one day TV transmitter masts may disappear from the landscape to be replaced by TVs with browsers and WiFi built in.

Many TVs sold today are already smart TVs as standard, so perhaps for once it’s not technology that’s holding broadcasters back so much as it requires a total change of their business models. Still at least Ofcom is here to make sure that the video-on-demand services have to abide by similar standards and an equitable share of the red tape to make sure it’s a world ready for our national broadcasters to join when they’re ready.

  • Roger
    2 years ago

    “You’ve probably never heard of ATVOD. Neither have most people but don’t worry, they’re being abolished at the end of the year.”

    That is a VERY misleading statement and may be highly flawed. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2010 isn’t going away and is being strengthened and ATVOD, truly a Government “Quango” with a political brief, shows no sign of losing it’s big bite it’s taken into “adult websites” even if they’re not in the UK.

    I think your statement needs some concise clarification?

    • 2 years ago

      You are of course correct. Wrist duly slapped and post edited.. :-)

    • Roger
      2 years ago

      If you’ve a link Chris to any news on this supposed change then myself and many, many others would welcome the information. You see the only widely publicised news is that ATVOD are “sharing” their “moral crusade” with Ofcom . . . and that is deeply worrying to those who may find themselves at the wrong end of the stick for, previously/presently, if any party were to appeal against an ATVOD decision then it was Ofcom that heard and judged that appeal . . . so are they now to be BOTH Judge and jury?

      ATVOD got off to a disastrous start and lost high profile cases against some major TV companies so has instead concentrated on small players producing adult material, in doing so it follows the very definite wishes of the Government, yet I think many knew that it would be “re-branded” and either it’s remit changed or even the legislation amended to “plug the loopholes” to recover from that initial disaster.

      Worryingly, and with no apparent news elsewhere on this and requests for information under the “freedom of Information Act” seemingly being ignored, what you see may be the tip of the iceberg in any coming change.

    • 2 years ago
  • Roger
    2 years ago

    Thank you Chris, I hope those whose business means they need to be fully aware of what the Government will be doing next to either throttle their enterprise or drown them in “taxes” (fees) and red tape will have got a good heads up on this “sugar coating” for, it is certain, knives are being sharpened and not returned to their sheaf’s.

    But the claims Ofcom makes in Note 3 : “Ofcom is the independent regulator . . .”? On January the 1st 2016 they become a Policeman for the Government instead and, as the “thought police” want so much removed from freedom of chioce, all one can say for the present is . . .

    Watch this space.

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