Regulating video-on-demand in the UK

A draft paper, ‘Journeyman to five-tool player? Co-regulation and audiovisual media in the UK link to PDF), is available on the website of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance.The paper was prepared for the Group’s third biennial conference at UCD in Dublin; the conference took place this weekend, but unfortunately I was unable to attend in person to deliver my paper.

I’ll provide some links to some other papers from those made available on the Internet in a later most.  My own paper is an early draft, with some further work needed, so I’d welcome your comments, but don’t rely on it as a complete statement of the law.  

I’ll update this post with a link to a final version when it’s available.  The abstract is below.

Media regulation in the UK has traditionally seen a division between State regulation (in the case of broadcasting) and self-regulation (in the case of newspapers), both of course subject to laws of general application. However, co-regulation has emerged as a significant feature of contemporary regulation of the media. With official support and encouragement from UK and EU legislation, and political and regulatory commitment to the ʻlight touchʼ, the new system for the regulation of ʻvideo-on-demandʼ (VOD) as an aspect of the transposition of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) illustrates this. This paper considers the various stages of consultation and implementation in the responsible Department, the regulatory agency Ofcom, and the designated body ATVOD, informed by the representations made by various affected parties. It is argued that audiovisual media in the UK can now be regulated by a number of bodies, with an argument being made for a new approach to categorising and analysing the relevant statutory provisions and regulatory arrangements.

The model of co-regulation for VOD is considered alongside broader ideas of the appropriate methods for regulation, technological and organisational developments in the media industries, and the impact on closely related issues such as community media and the film industry. It is argued that the AVMSD did not resolve all issues in relation to the scope of regulation and that even the most recent developments in the launch of co-regulation illustrate the issues in relation to on-demand services that remain unresolved.