Insights Government publishes consultation on Requirements for Video Sharing Platforms in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2018/1808/EU)


The Audiovisual Media Services Directive is the regulatory framework governing EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media. The Government launched a consultation on implementing the newly introduced and amended provisions in the AVMSD 2018 on 30 May 2019.

The Government explains that one of the main changes to AVMSD is the extension of scope to cover video-sharing platforms (VSPs) for the first time. This extension in scope will likely capture audiovisual content on social media sites, video-sharing sites, pornography sites and live streaming services. These services are required to take appropriate measures to: (i) protect children from harmful content; (ii) protect the general public from illegal content and content that incites violence or hatred; and (iii) respect certain obligations around commercial communications.

The original consultation, published on 30 May, outlined the government’s intention to implement these requirements through the regulatory framework proposed in the Online Harms White Paper. However, the Government also indicated the possibility of an interim approach ahead of the regulatory framework coming into force to ensure it meets the transposition deadline of 20 September 2020. The Government now plans to take forward this interim approach and has written to stakeholders on 23 July 2049 to set out its plans and consult on them.

This open letter and consultation sent to stakeholders, therefore, aims to gather views on the Government’s interim approach for implementing requirements pertaining to VSPs through appointing Ofcom as the national regulatory authority. In particular, it asks questions regarding:

  • how to transpose the definition of VSPs into UK law, and which platforms are in the UK’s jurisdiction;
  • the regulatory framework and the regulator’s relationship with industry;
  • the appropriate measures that should be taken by platforms to protect users;
  • the information gathering powers Ofcom should have to oversee VSPs;
  • the appropriate enforcement and sanctions regime for Ofcom;
  • what form the required out of court redress mechanism should take; and
  • how to fund the extension of Ofcom’s regulatory activities from industry.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be holding stakeholder sessions to present the Government’s approach to implementing the provisions pertaining to VSPs in the Directive, and offer an opportunity to discuss issues before responding to the Government consultation.

The consultation closes on 17 September 2019. To access the consultation and for details of the stakeholder sessions, click here.