Posts Tagged ‘VOD’

Read more Ofcom Watch at

Ofcom logo Ofcom regulates on-demand programme services (ODPS) that are notified and based in the UK, to ensure that providers apply the relevant standards. Ofcom also has a duty to advise the Government on the need for protection of consumers and citizens in their consumption of audio-visual services, and in particular the need to protect children.

Ofcom seeks to understand people’s use of, and concerns about, notified ODPS in the broader context of all on-demand and online audio-visual services in the UK, and has therefore carried out quantitative consumer research for this purpose. A

. Comparisons are made to the 2014 data throughout this report where relevant.

This survey covers the full range of audio-visual content that is available on demand and online: sourced either directly via the internet, via an app, or via a provider of a service; for example, programmes on BBC iPlayer, clips on YouTube and films provided by ondemand services from Netflix.

In this report we examine online and on-demand consumption of audio-visual content among adults and teens, and their concerns regarding that content.

The report adds about viewer ‘concerns’

The top mentions in 2015 among all concerned adults include: violence (50%), welfare of children/young people (32%), bullying/victimising (31%), racism (30%), discrimination (29%), bad language (28%) and pornography (24%). Concerns regarding violence, bullying and racism have significantly increased among adults since 2014, while concerns regarding sexually explicit content have decreased.

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ofcom future reguilation on demand ATVOD was sacked from its job as the Video on Demand censor a few weeks back. Ofcom will now take on the role from the new year.Ofcom has just published a paper outlining transitionary arrangements for Video on Demand Censorship and has outlined proposals for future changes to processes. Ofcom is consulting on these proposals and invites responses by 1st March 2016.

Ofcom will take on some employees from ATVOD and in the first instance the ATVOD censorship rules and processes will be continued. However Ofcom makes the following proposals for the future:

  • Service providers will still be required to register for censorship using more or less the same impossibly convoluted rules that currently exist (perhaps with improved explanation).
  • Ofcom proposes that service providers should no longer be charged a fee. (Ofcom note that the marginal cost to extend current TV censorship processes to Video on Demand are not great).
  • Ofcom will reorganise the complaints procedure along the lines of that used for broadcast complaints
  • Ofcom will rewrite the censorship rules in the style of the TV broadcast rules but substantive content will not be likely to change much as it is basically derived from EU and UK decrees.
Read more ATVOD Watch at

ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry The UK government has just passed worrying new rules about requiring internet porn films to adhere withBBFCguidelines and for websites to impose impractical age verification requirements.The internet video censor, ATVOD, is now consulting on a new set of censorship rules to reflect the new law. However ATVOD has also dreamt up a few new censorship rules of its own, seemingly way beyond the law changes about hardcore porn videos.

ATVOD has defined a new rule 14 which lets the organisation act as a new BBFC for internet video material not actually seen by the BBFC. This is not backed up by any change to law that I have spotted.

ATVOD has cut and pasted a whole load of BBFC statement about banning things for made up reasons such moral harm. Now when these statements appear on the BBFC websites, then it is rhetoric to keep moralist campaigners and MPs happy. Knowing what the BBFC actually bans and censors, generally means that we trust the BBFC not to abuse the open censorship enabling rules.

However there is zero trust for ATVOD which seems to glory in its crucifixion of the adult internet industry with unnecessarily onerous age verification requirements.

Anyway ATVOD introduces the consultation as follows:

Consultation on Proposed New Rules and Guidance Proposal to adopt new Rules and Guidance in light of amendments made to the Communications Act 2003 by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 This consultation opened on 1st December 2014 This consultation will close at 5pm on 2nd March 2015

This is a consultation by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ), the body that Ofcom designated on 18 March 2010 as the co-regulator for VOD editorial content. The purpose of this consultation is to consult on a proposal to adopt an amended Rules and Guidance document.

We expect to publish a statement on the Proposed Rules and Guidance in spring 2015.

And the new Rule 14 reads:

Rule 14: Harmful Material: Prohibited material

An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material. Prohibited material means

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act38 not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or

  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

In determining whether any material falls within (b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.


Content whose broadcast complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, or that has been classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in any category, including R18 , would not be considered prohibited material .

Video works which have been refused a classification by the BBFC, and material which if included in a video work would be refused a classification by the BBFC, is prohibited material and cannot be included on an on demand programme service in any circumstances. All material on the service, including still images and other non-video content is subject to this requirement.

There is no requirement for material being provided on an on demand programme service to be classified by the BBFC, but where material has not been classified, ATVOD is required to have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when determining whether it is reasonable to expect that such material when included in an on demand programme service is material which, if contained in a video work submitted to the BBFC, would be refused a classification.

The guidance below sets out the type of material which may be refused a classification by the BBFC. For further information on the guidelines issued by the video work authority see the BBFC’s website at Having regard to the current BBFC Classification Guidelines, the following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of material which may constitute prohibited material:

  • Material in breach of the criminal law (including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation39 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) or that has been created through the commission of a criminal offence

  • Material which risks harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society. For example:

  • Material which may promote criminal activity

  • Portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context

  • Detailed portrayals of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals.

  • Material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing

  • Graphic images of real injury, violence or death presented in a salacious or sensationalist manner which risks harm by encouraging callous or sadistic attitudes

  • Material which reinforces the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence

  • Material which invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities

  • Material which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.

  • Material in pornographic works which:

  • Is likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults

  • Portrays sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent

  • Involves the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive consensual activity o Involves penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm

  • Involves sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

Read more ATVOD Watch at

See article from

See Studio66 TV [pdf] from
See G Spot [pdf] from
See Abused Piggy [pdf] from

studio 66 tv logoATVOD publishes determination that three adult video on demand services had breached ATVOD rules requiring video on demand providers to ensure that under 18s cannot normally access hardcore pornographic content

ATVOD’s findings – against the providers of online video on demand services Studio66 TV , G Spot Productions and Abused Piggy — brings to 17 the number of adult suffocated by the VOD censor over the last 18 months. All of them were operating in breach of an ATVOD rule which requires that R18 hardcore material can only be made available if access is blocked to children. The latest three services — which operated through a total of 11 websites – offered users access to explicit hard-core porn videos which could be viewed on-demand.

ATVOD found that the G Spot Productions service broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, it allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hard-core pornographic video promos/trailers and still images featuring real sex in explicit detail. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the service accepted payment methods such as the most widely used payment by debit cards. ATVOD ruled that the service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos. As a result of ATVOD’s action, the service provider removed all explicit hard-core material from the free-to-view sections of the service, and restricted access to such material to persons able to provide evidence that they are over 18, for example by presenting a valid credit card.

The Studio66 TV service was found to have committed one breach of the statutory rules. The service did not offer free, unrestricted access to hard-core pornographic material, but did provide such material to any visitor who paid a fee. As the service accepted payment methods such as debit cards, ATVOD ruled that the service had failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the explicit pornographic material. As a result of ATVOD’s action, the service provider restricted access to explicit hard-core material to persons able to provide evidence that they are over 18, for example by presenting a valid credit card.

The Abused Piggy service was also found to have committed one breach of the statutory rules. Although the full catalogue of material could only be viewed by adults, the service also offered unrestricted, free-to-view access to a sample video featuring real sex in explicit detail, and to still images featuring real sex in explicit detail and strong fetish material. As a result of ATVOD’s action, the service closed.

So one service closed and the others severely restricted to customers with credit cards; who are willing to pay before they see what they would be getting; and who get to notice a site that has got nothing but a few softcore pictures to trying and attract surfers passing briefly by.

Read more Ofcom Watch at

See article from

ed richardsEd Richards, the boss of Ofcom made a speech to the Oxford Media Convention on the 25th January 2012.

He repeatedly alluded to more censorship for the internet and video on demand in particular. He said:

In between the twin poles of linear TV and the open internet, it becomes quite interesting.

When something looks, feels and acts like TV, but is delivered over the internet and into people’s living rooms, we need something that meets audiences’ expectations and provides the right degree of reassurance.

It is here that such services intersect with the views and concerns expressed by the participants in our research and where greater assurance than currently on offer may need to be considered.

It seems undesirable for these services to be subject to full broadcasting style regulation — by and large they belong to a different form of service and come from a very different context. But we do need to consider whether to develop the approach in relation to existing co-regulation for video on demand to offer greater assurance and to ensure there is public trust in the approach to regulation as these services become more and more pervasive and significant.

In the case of video-on-demand services, our research shows that protection of minors and the risk of harmful content is the most likely focus. And our experience of broadcast regulation suggests that privacy and fairness for individuals are also areas that need careful exploration.

In this context I wonder therefore whether there may be a fairly simple opportunity to establish a core set of principles and aims which are held in common across a diverse media terrain with different regulatory environments.

Such a set of core principles could be established between the regulators that emerge from the current debate. They might aim to articulate the minimum standards which we would like to see in the UK, regardless of the nature of the service or its specific regulatory setting.

This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. The Ofcom Broadcasting code is remarkably close to the BBC’s editorial guidelines. The PCC Code and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code share many of the same objectives, principles and indeed requirements, although the range of issues in the Ofcom Code is, for obvious reasons, significantly more extensive.

But we take an interest in the debate because over time, and quite quickly in some cases, the difference between video on demand content and that of increasingly video rich digital newspapers may well diminish. In thinking about an approach to media regulation for the next decade or more, it is as well to have an eye on the direction in which the tide is flowing.

More prosaically, we might be able to offer some assistance from what we have found to be necessary for regulation to be effective.

In our experience there are some critical features of regulatory systems which need to be present, or largely present, in order to ensure effectiveness and in turn to build and sustain public trust.

…Read the full article

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Carriers DVD Chris PineA video-on-demand (VOD) film trailer for the 15-rated film Carriers, was seen by the complainant before and during the X Factor final on the ITV Player.

The voice-over described life after a virus outbreak and stated The sick are already dead, avoid populated areas at all cost. You come into contact with other people – assume they have it. The ad featured survivors wearing masks and carrying weapons, such as a gun, as well as images of body bags piled up and dead people with decayed skin appearing to come back to life. Issue

The complainant objected that the ad was frightening and inappropriate for display during a family programme, because it had distressed his young children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

Although we acknowledged that the trailer was representative of the content of the film, we considered that younger children were likely to be frightened by some scenes in the ad, and in particular the scene in which the dead decaying body appeared to come back to life. We noted that children had seen the ad on the ITV Player. We noted that if a VOD programme contained adult themes, ITV had safeguards in place to ensure that it could only be accessed if the viewer was over 18 and, in those cases, an on-screen notice warning of the adult content also appeared prior to the start of the programme. However, we understood that X Factor itself on the ITV Player was not protected by a restricted content warning, nor was there any warning about the scenes in the trailer.

Because we considered that some scenes in the ad were unsuitable for younger children, as they were likely to frighten them, and because adequate steps had not been taken to ensure that the ad was appropriately targeted around suitable programming, when shown on a VOD service, we concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.

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ATVOD logo UK video-on-demand providers must pay a combined £375,000 to two bodies that will regulate their industry.

The Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD) was last week confirmed by Ofcom to co-regulate, along with it, the VOD sector.

Ofcom says 150 VOD services must pay the fees – but, despite reviewing the sector last year, it has not published a list identifying the companies affected.

Indeed, singling out those services which fall under the joint Ofcom-ATVOD auspice is tricky. The EC directive applies to TV-like services, which it says must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality; must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material and sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements.

But what TV-like means is open to interpretation, as media continue to converge and innovate. After commissioning research in to the topic, Ofcom says the scope should extent to services that provide access to programmes that compete for the same audience as television broadcasts, and therefore, are comparable to the form and content of programmes included in broadcast television services. Only services that have editorial responsibility over their content are covered.

Specifically, Ofcom says catch-up TV websites and set-top box services, TV archives and movie VOD services [doesn’t sound very TV-Like to me!] fall under regulatory scope.

Ofcom has opened a consultation with three options for raising the money:

  • Option A: Charging based on services’ revenue, so as not to disadvantage smaller providers.
  • Option B: A mixture of revenue-based fee and a flat £1,000 fee.
  • Option C: A flat £2,500 fee. [Ofcom preferred option]