Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for an early general election, which will see UK residents head to the polls on July 4th to pick their local member of parliament.    As part of this process, the government is dissolved ahead of the election, so the parties are able to go out on the campaign trail for six weeks. 

This move resulted in a last-ditch push to get the Media Bill rushed through the final stage, where it was put before the House Of Lords on Thursday evening to get authorisation.

The new Media Bill is being supported by the established British broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Channel 5, who want the major streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ to be forced to follow the same rules that they have to.  This will result in Disney+ coming under the control of Ofcom, who will have to comply with UK rules about accuracy and harmful content.  Ofcom will be able to investigate and take action to ensure these standards are applied and could issue fines up to £250,000 ($309,000) and, if deemed necessary, even restrict streaming services from operating in the UK if they fail to comply.

While this might not have a great impact on Disney’s scripted content, it brings documentaries and news coverage under more scrutiny. 

There will also be other implications for British broadcasters, as the new Media Bill requires more prominence on streaming devices like smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming sticks.  It will also allow Channel 4 to produce its own content for the first time, as currently, everything is licensed.

The UK broadcasting chiefs said in a joint statement:

“The reforms proposed in the Bill will update key aspects of media legislation for the online TV era, to ensure audiences continue to benefit from the highest quality UK-originated content from the PSBs, and help the UK’s content sector thrive for years to come.

Following the House Of Lords approving the Media Bill, it will now receive Royal Assent later today, and it will formally pass into
law as the Media Act 2024.

Roger’s Take:  I completely understand the frustrations of UK broadcasters, who have had restrictions in place that are so many more than those of streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.   It makes sense for these major platforms to all play by the same rules while it’s available in the UK.  Obviously, these rules only apply to the UK, but it’s likely many other countries will start clamping down on the unrestricted access streaming services have had.

Do you think Disney+ should have to follow the same rules as other British broadcasters?  Let me know on social media!






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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: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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