Major TV and radio rules are set to come into force in the coming months after a new draft of the Media Bill was released.
Many of the changes will see local commercial radio stations being allowed to change their music formats and broadcasting more programmes from outside their coverage area.
Local commercial stations will be expected to retain or increase local news provision on both analogue and digital platforms.
The bill is expected to be passed as soon as parliamentary time allows, which could be over a year away.
Matt Payton, CEO of Radiocentre, said, “With more radio listening than ever now taking place online and on smart speakers, it’s only sensible that the Government introduces safeguards for the future that will guarantee consumer choice and support the public value provided by UK radio services.
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“The commercial radio sector welcomes this important recognition of the vital role that it plays in the media landscape. We’re also pleased to see legislation that will finalise commercial radio deregulation, enabling stations to focus on producing great content that listeners want to hear.”
On TV, public service broadcasters will be given “privileges and freedoms” to produce more “top quality British content” and invest in new technologies to attract more viewers amid competition with subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Video-on-demand services like Netflix and Disney+, will come under a new Ofcom content code for the first time, aimed to protect audiences from a “wider range of harmful material”.
Ofcom will also have “more robust powers” to investigate and enforce standards on VOD services, including issuing fines of up to £250,000 for “the most serious and repeated cases”.