Apple TV+ and other streamers could be hit with new, stiffer UK legislation

Apple TV+ Apple TV interface
Apple TV+ Apple TV interface (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • New legislation could impact Apple TV+ and others in the United Kingdom.
  • The UK is looking at age ratings, impartiality, and more.

A new review of the online media industry in the UK could see the likes of Apple TV+ and Netflix come under additional scrutiny and future legislation. The review hopes to ensure that streaming services are made to play on a level playing field with local outfits like the BBC, ITV, and Sky.

Announced this morning and spotted by MacRumors, the review will look at whether UK broadcasters are put at a disadvantage compared to their international competition. It will also consider whether streamers meet requirements in terms of age ratings and impartiality when airing documentaries.

It will consider whether new rules are needed to protect viewers of video-on-demand services - such as changes to age ratings and addressing impartiality and accuracy rules for documentaries and news content - alongside measures to level the playing field so public service broadcasters can compete with international rivals.

The issue stems from the fact online streaming services aren't regulated in the same way as traditional ones, save BBC iPlayer which "includes enhanced protections to audiences from harmful or offensive material and rules on accuracy and impartiality." Current regulation has been around for almost 20 years, making it almost useless.

It is also almost twenty years since the UK broadcast sector's regulatory framework was introduced in the Communications Act 2003, which was designed before the arrival of online companies such as Apple+, Amazon Prime and Netflix in their current form.

The results of the review will be published in a white paper this fall, the announcement says.

Why not treat yourself to one of the best TVs we could find while you wait? You deserve to watch your Apple TV content in the best way possible, after all.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.