Google, Facebook and other big digital media movers and shakers constantly worry about regulation. But what about Netflix?
Not so much -- at least in the U.S. But in the U.K. things are not too clear.
U.K. ministers are mulling the idea that Ofcom -- the U.K.'s media regulator -- should get into the action, ruling over Netflix just as it does with traditional broadcasters. They want monitoring of harmful or unsavory content, and to levy fines against Netflix if it comes to that.
Netflix's response is effectively, "Really?" If that happens, it now threatens to rip out content from its offerings in that country -- movies, TV shows, whatever.
In this country, that is not the case for streamers. Their position is similar to a great extent to that of cable TV networks.
In the early days, in the late 70s and early 80s, premium cable TV networks -- HBO and Showtime -- were sometimes considered a forbidden place of sorts to see content, including what could be described as "soft porn" content.
Right now, media companies do their own self-monitoring of content -- especially those social-media platforms. Still, not everyone believes those businesses do enough.
Modern U.S. TV and media users -- broadly -- think less about this these days than say two decades ago. At the same time,TV pressure groups still monitor and issue warnings about content. For their part, many TV/streaming advertisers continue to seek “brand-safe” content.
Consumer sensitivity to content -- scripted, unscripted and otherwise -- keeps changing. Of course, freedom of speech issues keep mucking up all of this.
As for the U.K., Netflix says much is vague:
“Without considerably greater clarity around the scope and application of these provisions, it would inevitably be easier to remove content preemptively from our U.K. catalog than risk an onerous compliance burden and potential liability.”
Should other premium TV services be worried as well? Are global concerns an issue?