Sun shines for News Group in VOD row

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 22-12-2011

In what is indeed a rare ray of sunshine for News Group Newspapers, Ofcom has upheld an appeal by that its Sun Video was not a true VOD service and did not fall under the rules of the Association of TV On Demand (ATVOD).

The ruling, for which there has been no precedent, was made in relation to video material in the ‘Video’ section of The Sun website and in February 2011 the ATVOD, the independent co-regulator for the editorial content of UK video on demand services, ruled that Sun Video was an On-Demand Programme Service (ODPS) and therefore subject to regulation under Part 4A of the Communications Act 2003, and, moreover, liable to ATVOD fees.
News Group appealed this decision on 22 March 2011 and as the appeal body for ATVOD decisions, Ofcom assessed the case and has found in News Group’s favour, deciding that the video section of The Sun’s website was not an ODPS. Ofcom decided that the reasons and evidence ATVOD relied upon in its determination were not sufficient for it to decide that the Video section of The Sun’s website was an ODPS.
In making its ruling, Ofcom reiterated the relevant ruling regarding VOD services. Namely a service is only an ODPS if it satisfies the defining criteria amongst which is if its “principal purpose is the provision of programmesthe form and content of which are comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services.”
Moreover, it added that where a service is an ODPS, its provider is subject to a requirement to notify ATVOD and pay a fee and the provider must also ensure the ODPS meets a limited number of regulatory requirements.