UK government proposes regulation of Netflix
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UK government proposes regulation of Netflix

The UK Government is currently considering a proposal to regulate streaming sites for the first time. 

Boris Johnson’s ministers for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are set to consult on proposed plans to bring streaming platforms in line with the BBC, ITV, Sky and others by imposing regulation. 

The discussion was first voiced over the weekend as ministers debated whether Channel 4, which has been under public ownership since 1982, should be privatized. This prompted a review of media standards at large. 

If passed, the regulations would mean that the streaming services would have to apply approved age ratings to their content, and documentaries would be subject to impartiality and accuracy reviews before being allowed to be viewed.

Ministers have stated that applying OFCOM regulations to streaming would “level the playing field so public service broadcasters can compete with international rivals.”

With Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden adding: “Technology has transformed broadcasting but the rules protecting viewers and helping our traditional channels compete are from an analogue age.

“The time has come to look at how we can unleash the potential of our public service broadcasters while also making sure viewers and listeners consuming content on new formats are served by a fair and well-functioning system.”

Currently Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime alone have over 30million subscribers in the UK and while it is currently unclear what restrictions would be imposed if the proposal is passed, it is looking increasingly likely that it will be, and therefore, will have a sizeable impact on our viewing habits.