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UK Government to review streaming regulation

DCMS looking to bring rules in line with those of traditional broadcasters

The UK Government is looking to overhaul regulation of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Following hints at reform by Culture secretary Jeremy Wright, the DCMS is considering whether rules for on-demand streaming services should be brought in line with those of traditional broadcasters.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee chaired by Damian Collins MP is separately discussing whether to “do something” on the issue this year.

While public service broadcasters are bound by regulation over commissioning content from within the UK (e.g. the BBC must ensure that UK-produced shows “make up a substantial proportion” of its content), no such rules apply to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The divergence in rules stems in part from the fact that these companies fall outside the jurisdiction of Ofcom (e.g. Netflix is headquartered in the Netherlands, and is therefore regulated by the Dutch Media Authority).

However, Netflix agreed last month to introduce a new age ratings system in partnership with the BBFC.

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