Thursday 22 August 2019

Sky Ireland calls for level playing field with digital rivals


Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, is one of the shows that Sky has used to carve out market share
Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, is one of the shows that Sky has used to carve out market share
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Sky Ireland will tell the Department of Communications that new regulations for online content should ensure that video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube, will become as accountable as traditional broadcasters.

It is understood that Sky's submission to a consultation will claim it is illogical that services with the potential to cause the most harm are the least regulated.

Sky will be one of a number of broadcasters and technology groups making submissions in a consultation on the revised EU Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) directive.

The directive will have a significant impact on social media sites such as Facebook as well as on-demand services such as Netflix.

As first revealed by the Sunday Independent last year, Ireland will have a central role in the policing of these new rules given that a number of new media organisations have their EMEA headquarters in Dublin. Facebook has already met the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to discuss the new rules.

The department is holding a consultation on the new directive, which covers a wide range of topics including the type of regulator which will be needed to police the new rules.

It is understood that Sky Ireland will also argue the VSPs are competing for the same advertising revenue as traditional broadcasters and on-demand services which means they should also be subject to the same commercial restrictions.

Sky, which airs popular shows such as Billions and Game of Thrones, will also argue that it makes no sense to make traditional stations adhere to rules on content if viewers can get easily access the non-regulated material on online services.

The position of Sky Ireland is in line with comments made in the UK recently by Group CEO Jeremy Darroch: "Given the harm caused by online platforms, particularly to children, we welcome the (UK) Government's move toward introducing oversight, accountability and sanctions."

He described a white paper there as "important step toward creating a regulator with sharp teeth".

Sunday Indo Business

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