HomeInsightsDepartment for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport publishes report on video sharing platforms

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The revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) aligns rules for on-demand programmed services (ODPS) with linear television, and introduces rules for video sharing platforms (VSPs) for the first time.

The Government commissioned Plum Consulting to identify the number of VSPs potentially in the UK’s jurisdiction and aid its assessment of the impact on business of new rules.

DCMS had now published Plum’s report: “Understanding video-sharing platforms under UK jurisdiction”.

The report explains that the new AVMSD rules will require VSPs to take appropriate measures to:

  • protect minors from harmful content (which may seriously impair their physical, mental or moral development); and
  • protect the general public from incitement to violence or hatred and from content constituting criminal offences (public provocation to commit terrorist offences, child sexual exploitation and abuse, and racism or xenophobia).

Plum Consulting was commissioned to carry out a research study to address three questions:

  1. how many video-sharing platforms are currently under UK jurisdiction?
  2. what is the size and scope of video-sharing platforms under UK jurisdiction (for example, the number of staff employed by the VSP and the target audience of the VSP)?
  • to what extent are VSPs under UK jurisdiction compliant with the requirements of the updated AVMSD?

Plum explains that the outcomes of this research study are intended to inform ongoing work by the DCMS. The final decision on whether a VSP is within UK jurisdiction will be made by the National Regulatory Authority (NRA).

The report explains that under the updated AVMSD, a VSP is defined by the following characteristics:

  • the principal purpose of the service or of a dissociable section thereof, or an essential functionality of the service is devoted to providing programmes, user-generated videos, or both, to the general public, for which the video-sharing platform provider does not have editorial responsibility, in order to inform, entertain or educate;
  • the service is made available by means of electronic communications networks; and
  • the organisation of this content is determined by the video-sharing platform provider, including by automatic means or algorithms in particular by displaying, tagging and sequencing.

The research study identified six mainstream VSPs that are, or could potentially be, under UK jurisdiction.

In addition, the study found that there are at least two adult VSPs that appear to be under UK jurisdiction.

Of the long list of services providing video content, the vast majority have editorial responsibility for this content and are not VSPs.

Of the remainder that facilitate video sharing, many major technology companies are under the jurisdiction of other EU member states, such as Ireland.

Of the services under UK jurisdiction, in some cases video-sharing functionality is ancillary to the main purpose of the service, so they are not VSPs. Snapchat is a borderline case and its shared video content is primarily professionally produced by third-party publishers.

Plum warns that its findings present a current snapshot of the video-sharing market. This market is fast-moving, with services, audiences, business models, revenues and company structures likely to change over the coming months and years. To access the report in full, click here.