ITC interactive consultation paper stresses light touch

– The ITC has stressed the need for a light and flexible touch to the regulation of interactive services in a new consultation paper.

– The ITC has stressed the need for a light and flexible touch to the regulation of interactive services in a new consultation paper.

The paper, which identifies two key types of interactive services -- dedicated and enhanced -- makes it clear that the ITC does not wish to invent new layers of regulation.

Dedicated services are those stand-alone offerings not related to broadcast programmes. These include shopping malls that link viewers to a range of interactive stores and entertainment services.

For these services the ITC expects the main cause for viewer concern to be misleading sales claims. To prevent this the ITC proposes a 'notify and remove' policy, which puts obligation on the TV station to ensure that content not complying with ITC rules is removed.

The second category, enhanced, covers those services linked with TV programmes, which allow viewers to interact directly with the programme or an ad. The ITC believes the regulation of enhanced services should mirror that applying to existing programming remaining strict, for example, on issues of transparency, where the viewer must know if they are viewing ads or editorial.

Stephen Locke, the ITC director of advertising and sponsorship, said: "One of the things we have realised is that interactivity is not something that you can regulate. It is functionality. A button on the remote control. What we regulate are the services. It is translating that and working out what the viewer interest is that is our job."

Reponses to the ITC paper are due in by April 28. The next stage will be a draft policy statement due in late summer.


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