The UK government intends to introduce new legislation that will make UK public broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 a high priority on all smart TVs. The decision follows criticism from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, which criticized the government for acting too slowly to make a name for itself with smart TVs.
The Communications Act 2003 requires public service broadcasters to be featured prominently in electronic program guides. This legislation is the reason that whether you’re watching TV on Sky Q, Virgin Media TV360, or YouView, they all have the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 at the top of the guide – long before like Sky Atlantic, Dave, Sky Sports or MTV.
The Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport hopes that new legislation introduced by 2022 will extend this meaning to online platforms like smart TVs. As of now, these new platforms are not covered by the Communications Act 2003.
Therefore, smart TV platforms, including Tizen from Samsung, Roku Smart TVs and Android TV, can offer streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video and Disney + via the BBC, ITV or Channel 4.
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In response to the committee’s most recent stage of the public service review, a government spokesperson clarified: “It is important to ensure that the importance and balance of benefits and obligations support a sustainable future for Public Service Broadcasting (PSB). This work is ongoing and is also seen as part of the government’s strategic review of the PSB. “
In addition, the UK government has stressed that streaming services should share key viewing data with Ofcom to aid them in their analysis. She hopes this can be done on a voluntary basis.
The news comes when the government extended Freeview’s license for another decade. The UK government will support the cost of ensuring that channels such as ITV2, E4, GB News and Sky Arts are free to viewers across the UK by at least 2034. Freeview is home to some of the largest canals in the country. including ratings such as Gogglebox on Channel 4, Love Island on ITV2 and Married At First Sight which airs on E4.