Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video Subject to Increasing Regulation in U.K. Following New Government Bill

Streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video will be subject to more regulation in the U.K. following the release of the Government’s new draft Media Bill.

New rules are set to be introduced bringing the platforms under the purview of the U.K.’s media regulator Ofcom, which currently oversees both public and private broadcasters. The new Ofcom “content code” is designed to “protect audiences from a wider range of harmful material – such as misleading health claims” according to a press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) shortly before the latest draft of the bill was shared.

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The changes come as viewing habits and technology rapidly change the needs and practices of the screen industries. According to Ofcom, since 2011 linear viewing has dropped by 68% in the 16-24 demographic.

The draft Media Bill has also included new protections for public service broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV, ensuring their on-demand services such as iPlayer and ITVX are easily discoverable on smart TVs.

“Technology has revolutionised the way people enjoy TV and radio,” said Culture Minister Lucy Frazer. “The battle to attract and retain audiences has never been more fierce. British content and production is world leading but changes to viewing habits have put traditional broadcasters under unprecedented pressure. These new laws will level the playing field with global streaming giants, ensuring they meet the same high standards we expect from public service broadcasters and that services like iPlayer and ITVX are easy to find however you watch TV.”

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