Ofcom commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey audiences to understand attitudes towards content regulation; and how far, and in what ways, the public expects it should be protected in a world where content can be accessed in such a broad range of ways.
The report Protecting audiences in a converged world is based on findings from seven pairs of workshops conducted across the UK, each of which had around 20 participants. Fieldwork took place in June and July 2011.
Key findings include:
- Protecting minors, and protection from harm, were considered to be the most important areas for future regulation.
- Offence is very important to some, but not at all important to others.
- Impartiality, privacy and fairness were usually considered to be relatively less important. But a wide range of views were expressed, depending on whether participants considered the areas to be an important principle to uphold or personally relevant.
- Knowledge of current content regulation is high for broadcast services, but lower for other services like catch up and VoD (video on-demand).
- Viewers have high expectations of content regulation on broadcast television, and associated VoD and catch-up services.
- Other online audio-visual content is seen to be different from broadcasting content and people have generally lower expectations about regulation in this area.
- Converged TVs and devices, which incorporate broadcast, VoD and open internet services, are considered to be closer to a TV-like experience — and have a higher expectation of regulation — than the open internet. It is particularly important to protect vulnerable people in this environment.
- Technology use and social attitudes were found to be the most influential factors in influencing people’s views on the future of content regulation.