The crackdown by Netflix and Amazon Prime may end in streaming apps being topic to the identical guidelines because the BBC

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video could be subject to stricter rules for misinformation and other harmful content. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation to examine how content standards for video-on-demand and streaming services can be reconciled with traditional terrestrial broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Sky .

While programs broadcast on the BBC are subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, the same standards do not apply to streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV +, Prime Video and Disney +. The Broadcasting Code sets expectations for objectionable material, accuracy, fairness and privacy.

The consultation comes as new data from Ofcom shows a huge surge in the popularity of on-demand services across the country. The number of households that have subscribed to at least one streaming service increased by almost 350 percent between 2014 and 2020. In 2021, 75 percent of all British households will say they have seen a streaming service on a subscription basis.

According to DCMS, the standards vary greatly between streaming services. In an initial report, the government department welcomes the fact that some streaming platforms have put their own procedures in place, including PIN codes and content alerts, to protect younger viewers from harmful content. However, the government department warns that “the extent of these measures will vary by service.”

An example of this inconsistency is age ratings, which DCMS has described as “inconsistent and sometimes non-existent” between competing streaming platforms, most of which are developed and built by US companies.

The consultation could mean that “audiences – especially children – receive a uniform level of protection for video-on-demand services,” said DCMS. Whether you’re watching a show on BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, or Disney +, you can be sure that the same editorial standards and safeguards are in place.

DCMS has raised concerns about “minimal” content regulation. There are currently no rules in place to protect audiences from content such as misleading health advice or pseudoscientific documentaries.

It is unclear whether YouTube, which commissions and broadcasts its own shows and films in addition to user-uploaded clips, is also subject to Ofcom’s broadcasting code. While it doesn’t always fall into the same category as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the content has many of the same pitfalls – inconsistent age ratings, little regulation of pseudoscience and false claims, and more.

“Not all video-on-demand providers offer a TV-like experience, so any regulatory change must be proportionate, especially for smaller or niche services, to ensure that essential safeguards such as freedom of expression are not compromised,” adds the DCMS and suggests that YouTube may be outside the parameters of this initial consultation.

Speaking of the consultation, Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden said: “We want to reassure the UK audience that the programs they are watching in the digital age meet the same high standards for which UK broadcasters are known around the world.”

He added: “It is right that now, having left the EU, we are introducing proportionate new rules to protect the UK public from harm.”

The consultation hour is open for eight weeks. It closes at 11:45 p.m. on October 26th.

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