The Independent Television Commission 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 to the TV station to ensure
that any content not complying with ITC rules is removed.
The second category - enhanced - covers those services linked with
television programmes that 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 and remain strict. One example is the
issue 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. What we regulate
are the services. Our job is translating that and working out what
viewer interest is.’
Reponses to the ITC paper are due in by 28 April. The next stage will be
a draft policy statement due in late summer.