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This article was published on June 17, 2010

Ofcom publishes charges for Video on Demand players

Ofcom publishes charges for Video on Demand players
Steve Kennedy
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Steve Kennedy

Industry veteran, started in medical electronics, then mobile, ISP/Telco and mobile/wireless. Been in the industry for over 20 years. Involv Industry veteran, started in medical electronics, then mobile, ISP/Telco and mobile/wireless. Been in the industry for over 20 years. Involved in various start-ups and early stage investor and write for various tech sites. Mainly now just professionally annoy people (sometimes). Can be found on Twitter as stevekennedyuk and on a techie blog Euro Tech News.

Ofcom today have published a statement on the fees that regulated UK video on demand (VOD) players must pay for each service they provide. Services that are covered include BBC iPlayer and SeeSaw, but not  for example YouTube.

The fee is £2,900 for each ‘channel’ and channels must abide by the regulations set out in the the European (AVMS) Directive which requires that the UK create a new statutory framework for regulating  VOD services which are TV like. The fees are to cover the regulation costs. The fees have come out of both Ofcom and the Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD).

These fees mainly concern traditional large scale broadcasters who also use the Internet as a medium for transmission so Ofcom and ATVOD are asking small scale providers VOD what fees they feel would suit them i.e. concessionary fees and if they feel for any reason that they cant pay the existing fee structure  (as the service doesn’t generate revenue or it would damage their business) they should contact Ofcom by 5pm on the 15th of July.

There is some guidance from ATVOD on what is and what isn’t considered a VOD service and thus who should notify and here’s a non-exhaustive list of what is considered a VOD service


a) a “catch-up service” for a broadcast television channel whether programmes are made available from the broadcaster‟s own branded website, an online aggregated media player service, or through a „television platform‟ to a set top box linked to a television (whether using broadcast “push” technology, or “pull” VOD);

b) a television programme archive service comprising less recent television programmes from a variety of broadcasters and/or production companies, made available by a content aggregator exercising “editorial responsibility” over all the programmes, whether via a dedicated website, online aggregated media player service, or through a television platform; and

c) an on-demand movie service, provided online via a website or using other delivery technology by a provider exercising „editorial responsibility‟ over the content.

The following are not considered on-demand VOD services: –

a) Services that are primarily non-economic, and which are therefore not in competition with television broadcasting (Recital 16 of the Directive). In this context, “economic” is interpreted in the widest sense to encompass all forms of economic activity, however funded, and may include public service material, free to view content, as well as advertising-funded, subscription, pay per view and other transactional business models;

b) services comprising on-demand content that are not “mass media in their function to inform, entertain and educate the general public” (Recital 18 of the Directive); Page 9 of 15c) “games of chance involving a stake representing a sum of money, including lotteries, betting and other forms of gambling services”, “on-line games” and “search engines” are all stated to be excluded on grounds that their principle purpose is not the provision of “TV-like” programmes (Recital 18 of the Directive); and

d) electronic versions of newspapers and magazines (excluding any on-demand programme services offered by newspapers and magazines) (Recital 21 of the Directive).

Also excluded is user generated content (where the content has been generated without intending to generate income for the user) and video sharing sites.

The current fees are from period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.