As streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix become the main way audiences watch television, many governments around the world are revising existing laws and introducing new policies in place to put streaming services on the same level as traditional linear platforms.

In the United Kingdom, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has stated that it wants media regulator Ofcom to police streaming services in the same way as it does with traditional networks like the BBC, ITV or Channel 4.  This means that streaming services could be fined up to £250,000 ($310,000) for carrying harmful content, and they must consider impartiality in the context of contemporary events, pointing specifically to “current public policy” and matters of “political or industrial controversy.”

Netflix has responded to the four-page draft legislation by calling it “nebulous” and potentially “onerous” for services to enforce.  It has also threatened that it may remove films and shows from Netflix if it has to comply.  Netflix explained in a statement to Deadline

“The range and variety of Netflix’s content, generally considered a strength of our offering in terms of maximising choice for British viewers, could equally become a potential source of risk from a compliance perspective if it fell within Ofcom’s remit.  Without considerably greater clarity around the scope and application of these provisions, it would inevitably be easier to remove content pre-emptively from our UK catalogue than risk an onerous compliance burden and potential liability.”

Disney has also responded to the draft legislation, stating that since Disney+ has many audience protection measures in place, such as age ratings and parental controls, means it is not proportionate to introduce blanket streaming regulation in the same way as how it impacts traditional networks.

Disney told Deadline in a statement:

“Given the differences between linear broadcasting and VoD , the robust audience protection measures put in place by most VoD services, the varying consumer propositions and brand promises made by different VoD services, it seems inappropriate to apply uniform rules on all VoD services, whether that is strict content rules or mandated ratings.”

There is little doubt that government policies need to be updated to fit in with streaming services, especially in protecting subscribers from inappropriate content, but it’s also important that these new regulations reflect how streaming services vary from traditional linear networks.

With the major US studios continuing to spread out their streaming platforms worldwide, there will be more scrutiny on what content is available and more localised restrictions.

Do you think Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon should have to comply with the same rules as the BBC or ITV?  Let us know on social media!

For the latest Disney+ news, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

Related Article