VSP regulation: Ofcom launches third round of consultation on advertising

posted on 27 May, 2021   (public)

A proposed statutory framework making a distinction between advertising that is under the control of the VSP provider and advertising that is not

From 1 November 2020, video-sharing platforms (VSPs) established in the UK are required to take appropriate measures to protect users from harmful content, including advertising content, Ofcom being responsible for the enforcement of these new rules.

In this regard, Ofcom has already launched rounds of consultation on two guidance documents: “Who needs to notify Ofcom” and the “draft guidance on measures to protect users from harmful material”, respectively released in March and April 2021.

The new proposal on advertising completes the series of consultations planned and designed to help VSPs understand and comply with their new obligations. Ofcom's proposal also builds on existing co-regulatory arrangements with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the regulation of broadcast and on-demand advertising and designates the ASA as a co-regulator for VSP-controlled advertising - thus enabling a single point of contact for advertising issues across all media for consumers and industry.

  • A distinction between VSP-controlled advertising and non-VSP controlled advertising that reflects the legislation:  For advertising legally under the responsibility of the VSPs – advertising marketed, sold or arranged by VSP providers – Ofcom proposes to designate the ASA as the day-to-day regulator while Ofcom shall remain a statutory backstop regulator. For non-VSP controlled advertising, Ofcom proposes to be the supervisory body assessing the appropriateness of measures taken by VSPs to ensure the users’ protection.
  • An interim framework: The VSP regulatory requirements will be superseded by the Online Safety Bill (draft published by the UK government on 12 May 2021). However, paid-for advertising will not be included in the Bill and the Government stated that the self-regulatory system administered by the ASA will also regulate advertising on VSP services, as well as on other online platforms. Until such a time, Ofcom has a statutory duty to regulate advertising on UK-established VSPs.
  • The Closing Date for Responses is 28 July 2021

- Press release on Ofcom website (EN)

- Consultation on Ofcom's proposals for the regulation of advertising on video-sharing platforms (EN) 

  Source: Ofcom