Regulator Ofcom is consulting with the TV industry about the implementation of regulation of online TV services such as the BBC's iPlayer, Channel 4's 4OD and Five's Demand Five.
The regulation is required to be in place by December this year, under a Euro-directive voted in by member states two years ago. The EC Directive 2007/65/EC Audio Visual Media Service ("AVMS") Directive is said by Ofcom to seek to "create a level playing field for emerging audiovisual media services in Europe; and to protect consumer and citizen interests by ensuring that these services will be subject to some basic content standards."
For the first time, these standards will apply to "television-like" video-on-demand services, including those provided on the open internet, and will control both editorial content and advertising.
The rules cover the banning of 'incitement to hatred', the control of content which might 'seriously impair the physical, mental, or moral development of minors', and aspects of advertising and product placement.
Advertising rules for VoD will ensure users are aware they are watching an ad, and control the usual aspects of decency, discrimination, the advertising of tobacco products and prescription medicines, and what products are advertised to minors.