What is ATVOD?
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) regulates the editorial content on UK video on demand services.
Video on demand (VOD) services allow people to access programmes and films when they choose to. These services could include on-demand movie services, those where you choose from a library of archive content or catch-up TV services.
By law, a VOD service is only regulated if it’s offering users “TV-like programmes” and is operated from the UK. Also someone must have overall editorial responsibility for selecting and organising the content to provide to users.
So services where users upload their own content – such as video-sharing sites like You Tube – would not be classed as video on demand and are therefore not regulated by ATVOD.
We also don’t handle complaints about content on the BBC iPlayer in the UK – these are dealt with by either the BBC or Ofcom – or complaints about adverts on a VOD service, which are handled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
ATVOD enforces rules laid out in the Communications Act 2003. VOD services have to abide by a set of minimum standards.
When it comes to protecting children, VOD service providers must ensure that material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of under eighteens must be made available in a way which secures that under eighteens will not normally see or hear it.
Making a complaint
Many of the programmes seen on VOD services will have already been broadcast on television and are unlikely to break the rules for video on demand services.
But sometimes problems do occur. Your complaints are vital in helping us identify when the rules have been broken.
If you want to make a complaint, you should usually contact the service provider directly first.
If they don’t deal with the complaint to your satisfaction, you can then refer the matter to ATVOD. You can find out how to do this by using ParentPort’s complaints section.
ATVOD fully investigates all complaints which could constitute a breach of the rules.
All complaints receive a response and we publish a regular ‘Complaints Bulletin’ on our website, outlining the complaints we have received and the outcomes.
ATVOD works in partnership with the industry it regulates to ensure that users of VOD services enjoy the protection required by law. For example, we discuss complaints with the industry as a whole through regular meetings of the ATVOD Industry Forum.
ATVOD is led by an independent Chair and has a Board comprising five independent and four non-independent members.
What action can we take?
If ATVOD finds that a service has broken the rules, we can require them to stop showing a programme or require that they restrict access to it.
We can also require service providers to provide viewers with additional information before they select a programme, or to publish a correction, or a statement of ATVOD’s findings.
In more extreme cases ATVOD can refer the service provider to Ofcom who will consider whether more serious sanctions should be imposed. These could include financial penalties or suspension of the service.
Want to find out more?
You can find out more at ATVOD’s website or by signing up to our monthly newsletter (just email email@example.com with ‘subscribe to newsletter’ in the subject line).
If you have any other comments or feedback about video on demand services, you can contact us through ParentPort’s Have Your Say section.