TV Or Not TV?: Ofcom calls for traditional broadcasters to have a greater online presence

July 21, 2019

2 min read

Sign up to our mailing list! 👇

What's going on here?

Ofcom, the regulatory and competition body for TV, has called for new laws which would give traditional broadcasters more prominence on online platforms.

What does this mean?

If these new laws came into force, public service broadcasters like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, would find themselves with prominent spots on internet-enabled devices such as smart TVs and streaming sticks.

Current laws mean that such channels only have prominence on TV guides. Though, with more and more content being watched through streaming services and devices, as opposed to the traditional TV guide, such a change is arguably necessary.

What's the big picture effect?

Here we can see how the law continues to deal with modernisation on a multitude of levels. With the challenges faced by the traditional broadcasters, such a law could be beneficial to ensure the continuation of “older” shows and services. Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom group director for content and media policy said, “we are ensuring [traditional] channels remain easy to find on TV guides, and convening a national debate on the future of public service media – including how we safeguard its benefits for future generations”.

With companies like Netflix and Amazon having a monopoly over the streaming space, it would be interesting to see how this law could affect the numbers watching their shows. Whilst the broadcasters were happy to see this recommendation, Sky believed that this did not need to be regulated and that broadcasters had already been given prominence on Sky’s services.

Interestingly, if this law came into place, the traditional broadcasters’ on-demand services would need to deliver a range of high-quality content in order to qualify. This could be through genres provided or UK-only content. With such a threshold not applying to the existing streaming platforms, could this qualification be considered unfair? Or is it needed to ensure a level playing field?

Report written by Harina Chandhok

If you’d like to write for LittleLaw, click here!

Share this now!

Check out our recent reports!