UK VOD regulator cash short fall

VOD operators must pay more to be regulated because the new co-regulatory body got its budgeting wrong. The Association for Television On-Demand (ATVOD) estimated running costs for its first year (2010-2011) would be £426,388, (€505,000) covered by charging fees to VOD operators. But now it says there is “uncertainty” over how many VOD operators will pay.

First-year costs have increased by £41,000 and, despite a £40,000 injection by the Department for Media, Culture & Sport, the association is carrying forward a £52,757 deficit to 2011-12, so total year-two costs are set to be £520,377 or £50,000 over budget.

In a new consultation paper ATVOD and Ofcom now propose charging VOD operators the following annual fees…
Category Fee
Commercial operators Flat fee of £3,968, (up from £2,500) or between £1,000 and £25,000 depending on turnover.
Non-commercial Concessionary rate of £150, £250 or £500, depending on scale.

ATVOD was last year named to co-regulate some UK VOD services, since European Union members were charged with doing so by the European Commission’s 2007 Audio-Visual Media Services directive, which says “TV-like” services “must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality.. .and … must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material.”

“TV-like” is an open question but has so far been taken to indicate broadcaster provided services, so ITV Player and 4oD pay but YouTube doesn’t. ATVOD still estimates some 130 organisations will nominate themselves to pay in 2011-12.

Some smaller operators say the whole regime is too complicated and should be scrapped.