Compliance and Punishment


Glyn Powell-Evans of Ideas Unlimited.tv explains the benefits of compliance recording and how failing to adhere can land you in hot water
For broadcasters in the UK, ensuring that anything they broadcast is recorded and available for review is a way of life. The regulator Ofcom has regulations in place which dictate that all broadcasts must be recorded as transmitted and retained for 60 days for cable and satellite broadcaster and 90 days for terrestrial channels.
However, this is not the case in all countries. Take America as an example, despite having one of the largest television markets in the world there is no legal requirement for broadcasters to record their output in the US.
However, a number of US broadcasters still record everything they transmit, due to the legal protection it can offer. US broadcasters such as Stars Encore and Comcast both use Ideas Unlimited.tv products to back up their output.
For these companies products such as Content Probe, a range of software and hardware for the monitoring and verification of TV signals which offers a number of benefits. For example, if a company was to sue the broadcasters for libellous comments made on one of their shows, they could be confident that there was a recording of the show in question which could be used as evidence to refute the claims.
The same is true in the case of disputes with advertisers. If an advertiser claims that a broadcaster has not aired a commercial that they have paid for, the broadcaster will again have the recording of all of their output as evidence to the contrary.
Regulations and Compliance
While our American counterparts have the option of choosing whether or not they record their output, those in the UK are bound to do so by the terms of their licence.
Before any broadcaster can transmit content, they must obtain a broadcasting licence from the regulator, Ofcom. This applies to those broadcasters whose content is transmitted in the UK, and those whose content originates in the UK but is screened in other countries.
One of the conditions of obtaining a licence from Ofcom is that the broadcaster must ensure that all content broadcast is recorded as transmitted and that at the request of Ofcom a copy of the recording can be provided for examination and reproduction.
As it is a condition of a licence being issued, the penalties for failing to adhere to compliance recording are severe and in theory, failure to adhere could, in the most severe cases, result in a broadcaster having their licence revoked.
As Ofcom will only request a copy of the recording in the case of a complaint or a violation of the broadcasting code, any penalties for failing to comply will always be in relation to the severity of the incident in question. For example, a well known UK broadcaster was fined a total of £100,000 last year for a series of violations including failure to supply a recording of an incidence when Ofcom requested.
Additional Benefits
As well as allowing broadcasters to stay on the right side of the law, and of Ofcom for that matter, compliance recording solutions such as Content Probe also offer a range of other benefits such as demonstrating the level of subtitling and audio description that a broadcaster screens each week.
Ofcom has targets in place outlining how much subtitling and audio description a broadcaster must show. These targets increase each year until eventually 80% of content broadcast will have to include subtitling, 5% will have to show signing and 10% will have to include audio description.
Content Probe, as well as recording all of a broadcaster’s output, is also able to detect the level of subtitling and audio description available. This in turn will allow the broadcaster to prove to Ofcom that it is meeting these targets.
Content Probe also offers a number of other unique features including the ability to review content as soon as it has been transmitted and a fully automated browse function. When used in conjunction with other products, such as Fault Tracker and Verification, Content Probe can also allow broadcasters to detect faults and check for other features such as content, aspect and ratio in all of their transmissions.
In conclusion, compliance recording solutions offer broadcasters a cost effective means of adhering to the guidelines laid down by the regulator, potentially saving them from lengthy and costly legal action against them.

Tags: iss029 | compliance recording | content probe | regulations | ofcom | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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