Netflix Threatens To Remove Content In The U.K.: Bigger Regulation Concerns?

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?

3 comments about "Netflix Threatens To Remove Content In The U.K.: Bigger Regulation Concerns?".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, May 31, 2023 at 9:07 p.m.

    Wayne, the answer is 'yes' other countries have concerns.

    It is not just the content like there was 'fear of the cablers soft porn' in the US.   One of the other concerns in AU is the production of content.   Our FTA broadcasters are relying on importing content (OK, let's call it buying cheap stuff) and absolutely slashing domestic production.   We still have our news, sport and local production of global formats.   As an example our children's content production has been slashed ... where will the next Bluey of The Wiggles come from for us Aussies?   And the hundreds of countries who show it

    So, struth cobber, watching the box is about as much fun as being bitten by a joe-blake!

    In essence, we're not watching lots of Aussie content of FTA, and we are seeing rapid reduction in live TV.   And if you think it won't affect your market ... you're a drongo.

  2. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp replied, June 1, 2023 at 2:46 p.m.

    I saw the Wiggles live twice. They were great!

  3. John Grono from GAP Research replied, June 1, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.

    Bravo Josh!

    Murray, Greg and Anthony went to the same Uni as me - not that I knew them at the time and they weren't Wiggles until around 15 years later.   Maybe I should have studied childhood education and not maths/stats!

    We would often see them at the shops as they lived in the next suburb, and we see Murray at all sorts of local gigs.   My wife is working on some ideas with Emma.   Gotta love 'em!

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