ATVOD Freezes Fees, Plans More Resources for Probes

Jun 13, 2014 9:30 AM PST

LONDON —  ATVOD today said it has frozen fees for video-on-demand providers though March 2015.

The U.K. regulator, in a statement on its website, also said that it plans on "devoting more resources to investigating potential breaches of statutory rules."

"While the fees paid by 116 U.K. operators of on-demand TV will not rise, [ATVOD] has promised enhanced protection for consumers ... ," the communications co-regulator said.

The majority of ATVOD's work consists of regulating U.K. websites that host videos to ensure that services containing adult content cannot be accessed by users under 18.

Failure by porn sites to obtain proof that the user is over 18 through a credit card and other similar means before allowing access to adult content is considered by ATVOD to be a breach of the Rule 11.

ATVOD also continues to focus on foreign hardcore sites, particularly tube sites that offer free content.  It also has been advocating to U.K. financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the E.U., which allow under-18s in the U.K. to view explicit content. 

ATVOD's new tariff, approved by parent regulator Ofcom, retains the progressive-banded structure first adopted in 2011— the biggest operators pay most, and the structure offers concessionary rates for micro-scale, small-scale and non-commercial service providers.

The decision to freeze fees follows three consecutive years in which average fees have fallen.

Fees include:

  • Concessionary rates of £91-£96 for non-commercial service providers;
  • Concessionary rates of £137-£145 and £183-£193 for commercial service providers with turnover below £50,000 and  £100,000 respectively;
  • A three-band standard tariff based on the turnover of the service provider, with rates set at £732 - £771, £4,740 - £6,151, and £9,480-£12,302; and,
  • A cap of £25,000 on the total fees paid by any single provider.
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