Ofcom announces rules for Video on Demand

Media watchdog Ofcom has published its framework for the regulation of Video on Demand (VOD) services, which includes legislation on advertising.

BBC iPlayer

The rules will come into effect tomorrow (19 December) and cover content on VOD services such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player, and Demand Five.

Under the new legislation, advertising on VOD services must comply with a number of minimum standards, which will be co-regualted by the Advertising Standards Authority in the future.

Rules include: advertising must be readily recognisable and cannot contain any surreptitious advertising or use subliminal advertising techniques; advertising must not encourage behaviour that is prejudicial to the health or safety of people; and tobacco products, prescription-only medicines or medical treatments cannot be advertised.

Of the ASA, Ofcom says: “Having undertaken our assessment according to both the relevant statutory and regulatory criteria Ofcom is of the view that the ASA satisfies the criteria to be designated as a co-regulatory body. We are continuing to discuss with the ASA the appropriate terms for designation.

Minimum standards have also been laid out for the editorial content in rogramming.

Ofcom will deal with the regulations on VOD advertising in the interim. The rules are part of revised European law, under the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The Directive will only regulate ‘TV-like’ services, which make programmes widely available for members of the public to view at a time of their choice and not electronic versions of newspapers or unmoderated user generated material.

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