Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and all streaming services look set for a big shake-up under new proposals put forward by the British government.
The plan is for all streaming services that operate in the UK to be regulated by the country's regulator, Ofcom. This is so the entertainment platforms can face consequences for any shows, movies or any other form of content that is considered controversial or offensive.
As an example, Netflix EMEA is currently headquartered in the Netherlands and therefore outside of Ofcom's jurisdiction. Under this new reform, Netflix and co. that broadcast via the internet would now need to play by the same rules that the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 do on terrestrial television.
This has been brought forward as a White Paper (opens in new tab) policy document by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with the aim being to help usher in a "new golden age" of British TV and help the "nation's public service broadcasters thrive".
"The UK's TV and radio industries are world-renowned for their creativity, driven by exceptional talent that is delivering groundbreaking public service programming," said the UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries. "Set against the backdrop of the digital transformation of our viewing habits, today's plans will revamp decades-old laws to help our public service broadcasters compete in the internet age."
The proposal is set to be brought forward on April 28th, 2022. It could also initiate a wave of regulation throughout Europe, the US and further countries where any major streaming services operate.
In response, Netflix said in a statement that: "We are supportive of measures to update the legal framework and bring our service in the UK under Ofcom's jurisdiction. We look forward to reviewing the White Paper's other proposals and continuing to engage with the government on their plans."
Additionally, the UK government is looking to change the public service broadcasting rules on global sporting events, such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup final. These are currently broadcast for free and live, typically across terrestrial channels. The new ruling would mean these events can now be watched on catch up as well, so that whenever one takes place in the middle of the night it can then still be watched by a large audience.
In the meantime, Netflix recently provided a first look at its most expensive movie ever with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, while also revealing that the service will offer a cheaper alternative – but there's a catch.