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End of the watershed? Ofcom reflects on a digital future

In July 1964, Parliament passed the law that led to measures to protect children from seeing harmful or offensive material on TV in the evenings. Fifty years on, new Ofcom research shows that most adult TV viewers are aware of the 9pm watershed as a valued way of indicating what is suitable for young viewers.

However, with over a third (37%) of children (5-15 years old) with internet at home now watching  ‘on-demand’ content, Ofcom is working with Government and industry to examine how TV protections will continue to apply in a digital world.

While on-demand TV is estimated to account for only 2.5% of TV viewing, Ofcom recognises this poses new challenges.

Ofcom is working with Government, other regulators and industry to ensure that children remain protected if they choose on-demand TV over traditional broadcast TV, where Ofcom’s strict watershed rules apply.

This would mean that consumers have a clear understanding of the protections that apply on different platforms and devices, and know which regulatory body to turn to if they have any concerns.

“Ofcom recognises that the growth of on-demand TV is posing new challenges for parents and regulators,” says Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer and Content Group.

 

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