Ofcom To Regulate Netflix And Disney+ Under New Government Proposal

Under the new government proposal, the ‘Up-Next’ White Paper, Netflix and Disney+ would be regulated by Ofcom an it also reiterates their intent to privatise Channel 4.

Streaming sites such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video among other will be given new rules bringing them in line with traditional broadcasters, along with being regulated by Ofcom for the first time.

The White Paper

At the moment linear TV channels are subject to regulation by Ofcom, meaning they adhere to rules such as protecting their audiences from harmful or offensive material, and adhere to rules regarding accuracy, fairness and privacy.

Currently Video on Demand (VoD) services – such as streaming sites like Netflix and Prime Video – are not bound to these regulations.

In the new White Paper it would mean these VoD services would be have to ‘ensure TV-like content, no matter how audiences choose to watch it, is subject to similar standards’.

The proposal also outlines fines for breaking the Code that current linear channels adhere to – meaning the VoD services liable to pay £250,000 or a figure up to 5% of the organisation’s revenue, whichever is the higher amount.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, said: ‘These reforms really matter. They will enable our broadcasters to thrive – an outcome that is good for audiences, good for our economy and good for our ability to project British values globally.’

Plans To Privatise Channel 4

The White Paper also reiterates the government’s plan to go forward with the privatisation of Channel 4 – even after the backlash faced from the public and celebrities.

It says a ‘change of ownership in Channel 4 will give it the tools it needs to succeed in the future as a public service broadcaster while protecting its distinctiveness’.

However, recently Alex Mahon, the chief executive of British broadcaster Channel 4, told Deadline there’s “no evidence” that privatization of the of the public broadcaster would benefit the channel.

She said: ‘I see, my team sees and most of the experts in this room who have all given submissions say that there is no data and there is no evidence as yet that Channel 4 would be more able to sustain that mission and that remit in its delivery of social impact and its support of indies in the creative community in 10 years time if it was in private hands.

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Rachael is the Senior Content Editor at Freshered. She is NCTJ qualified with an MA in journalism. Rachael has almost ten years experience as a journalist in regional, national and international press and is passionate about creating engaging content.