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Ofcom refers Sky and Viacom dispute back to VOD regulator

The UK’s Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) must decide whether content owners or service providers offering on-demand services have ‘general control’ over the selection and organisation of the programmes that comprise the service.

An appeal by BSkyB against an ATVOD determination that it was providing an on-demand service which included content from three Viacom companies (MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central), has resulted in Ofcom referring the matter back to ATVOD for reconsideration.

According to statutory criteria, regulatory responsibility for such a service lies with the entity, which has ‘editorial responsibility’ for the service, which is defined as the exercise of “general control” over the selection and organisation of the programmes comprising the relevant video on demand service. Both BSkyB and the Viacom companies claimed that editorial responsibility lay with the other party. ATVOD said its decision had been taken on the basis of contractual evidence provided by the parties.

ATVOD CEO Pete Johnson said, “Where two parties are involved in making video on demand content available to the public, the question of which party has ‘general control’ over the selection and organisation of the programmes that comprise the service can be finely balanced, especially where this is a dispute between the parties involved. We will now reconsider the issue of the Viacom content on the Sky Anytime platform, taking into account the appeal decision.”

Tags: ATVOD, Ofcom, UK