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Video Streaming Regulation: Is Ofcom Going after YouTube?

This may be something that has been going on for sometime in the background, but Ofcom today launched its consultation into regulation of video on-demand (VOD) services.

Following the Audio Visual Media Services Directive, the Government is to regulate VOD services which are ‘TV-like’. The consultation is looking at whether the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) should regulate advertising in VOD services and is proposing that VOD services be regulated by the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD).

The regulation will consist of a range of minimum content standard, new VOD rules delivered through a co-regulatory framework,  and Ofcom will be given primary responsibility to ensure the effective operation of the co-regulatory framework.
VOD regulation has to be in place by December 19 and Ofcom is seeking views by October 26.

I did wonder whether this meant that Ofcom would be trying to regulate the likes of YouTube. The consultation document does tell us that whether a service is in scope for regulation is defined by a range of criteria, including: whether the principal purpose of a service is to provide “television-like” programmes, on an on-demand basis, to members of the public; whether such a service falls under UK jurisdiction for the purposes of regulation; and whether the service is under a person’s “editorial responsibility”.

I suspect that YouTube falls outside of the UK for jurisdiction but this might not be the case in my mind if a specific video was stored on servers based in the UK. I don’t know where specific bits of the YouTube cloud are but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that some of it could one day be in UK datacentres. Looks like another potentially messy situation to me.

PS I note that my post titles are getting more and more tabloid-like and sensationalist. I rely on my friends to tell me when it is getting out of control 🙂