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Fine smart TV manufacturers who do not make iPlayer prominent, BBC says

Keiran Southern, PA
·2-min read

Smart TV manufacturers who fail to make iPlayer prominent and easily accessible could be fined £250,000, according to proposals from the BBC.

The broadcaster has called on regulator Ofcom to urgently introduce legislation to benefit public service broadcasters.

The BBC wants platforms such as iPlayer, and the equivalents from ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, to be readily available when viewers switch on TVs, as it battles the streaming giants.

In a response to Ofcom’s public service broadcasting review, Clare Sumner, director of policy at the BBC, said: “Legislation should prevent providers of TV user interfaces (e.g. smart TV manufacturers or global tech providers) from releasing products in the UK without complying with these rules.

BBC iPlayer
Smart TV manufacturers who fail to make iPlayer prominent and easily accessible could be fined £250,000, according to proposals from the BBC (BBC/PA)

“This might be enforced via a notification regime and financial sanctions. This would ensure original British programming and trusted news is universal, available to all and easily accessible.”

Under the BBC’s proposals, manufacturers would be required to meet prominence and availability requirements for services such as iPlayer, adding the measures would be “a proportionate requirement and not overly burdensome”.

It added: “Ofcom should give serious consideration to what level of sanction would be effective. For example, a fine of 5% turnover or £250,000 whichever is higher would be in line with rules for today’s ondemand programme service providers.”

And the BBC said it was against giving away a portion of the licence fee to its rivals, claiming “if a contestable fund was top-sliced from the licence fee, it would diminish the BBC’s scale and scope at a time when Ofcom recognises the need for companies with sufficient scale to compete with global players and to support the UK’s creative economy”.