UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld an appeal by Channel Flip Media against an ATVOD determination that in April 2011 it was providing an on-demand programme service on the website.

In order to fall within the scope of the regulations overseen by on-demand services regulator ATVOD, a service must satisfy a number of statutory criteria, as set out in section 368A of the Communications Act 2003. In April 2011, ATVOD ruled that the Channel Flip service, which offered consumers on-demand access to short-form comedy videos by TV personalities, met those criteria and that Channel Flip Media was in breach of its statutory obligation to notify the service to ATVOD. Following ATVOD’s ruling, the Channel Flip website underwent significant changes, and, according to ATVOD no longer resembles the service on which it ruled.

The appeal decision turned on whether the videos were comparable, in form and content, to those normally included in television broadcast services and took account of research conducted a year after ATVOD had made its decision.
ATVOD chief executive Pete Johnson said:

“The question of whether video content is ‘comparable’ to programmes normally included in television broadcasts is far from straightforward. We will now consider the appeal decision carefully and analyse the implications for future decisions as to whether a particular service is, or is not, subject to regulations designed to protect consumers.”