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Mobile Radio and Self-Regulation July 2006. Andrea Millwood Hargrave Associate, PCMLP Scholar in Residence, Stanhope Centre. The ‘infotainment’ market globally is predicted to hit $42bn in revenue by 2010 (Source: Informa Telecoms & Media 2005). Definition of mobile radio. A tautology?

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mobile radio and self regulation july 2006

Mobile Radio and Self-RegulationJuly 2006

Andrea Millwood Hargrave

Associate, PCMLP

Scholar in Residence, Stanhope Centre

The ‘infotainment’ market globally is predicted to hit $42bn in revenue by 2010

(Source: Informa Telecoms & Media 2005)

definition of mobile radio
Definition of mobile radio
  • A tautology?
  • NOT portable radio
  • Used now in relation to digital radio - Digital Audio Broadcastor DAB standard
  • Allows more stations using the same amount of radio spectrum – more niche programming
  • Licence from Ofcom
  • BBC Charter or
  • Online radio station
bt movio trial
BT Movio Trial
  • Six month experiment in UK providing mobile radio and television to 1,000 users in London
    • Used DAB technology linked with Internet Protocol application
    • Limited content offering


where is growth coming from
Where is growth coming from?

Youth market is driving the growth in mobile phones:

  • In the Czech Republic and Portugal, 83% of the youth had mobile telephones in 2004

(Source: Mobile Youth Report 2004)

The average age at which a child gets a first phone in the UK is eight - compared with 12 in the US.

The mobile youth market is a high revenue earning area:
  • $55.5m spent on mobile games
  • In-Stat/MDR estimate that India’s mobile gaming market alone will bring in $336m by 2009
  • in Western Europe the spend on ring tones was estimated to reach $478.0m in 2005

In a ‘converged media world’ viewers and listeners will be able to obtain their ‘content’ via satellite, cable, digital terrestrial television or digital audio broadcast. It may be subscription, free to air, encrypted or PIN protected. Online content may be accessed via premium rate telephone lines, over the internet or streamed by broadband connection. Programmes can be watched and listened to on television and radio sets, on PCs or on 3G mobiles. Programmes may be available on-demand at any time or time-shifted by personal video recorders. Content will also come to us on VHS, CD, MP3 and DVD. Some of this content will be regulated, some not. The potential for confusion, frustration and offence is great

Ofcom 2005

so what is the issue
So – what is the issue?
  • As picture and sound definition increase how will the user perceive mobile content?
  • Will the systems become indistinguishable from other delivery mechanisms?
  • What about the content itself?
  • Should we worry?
characteristics of mobile
Characteristics of mobile
  • High penetration levels, especially among the young – social identity
  • A uniquely private relationship between the mobile telephone user and the device
  • Opens up new avenues for harmful and illegal content
  • Convergence of capture and distribution of content on mobiles (happy slapping)
privacy and camera phones
Privacy and camera phones

It is an offence for a person to knowingly or recklessly use a telecoms service .. in such a way as would be regarded by a reasonable person being, in all the circumstances, offensive.

(Source: Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914)

other issues include
Other issues include:-
  • Illegal content
  • Security – Location services
  • Spam
  • Pricing – consumer issues
  • Gambling
regulatory framework uk
Regulatory framework - UK
  • Broadcasting: Regulated (covers satellite and cable)
  • On demand : Self-regulated
  • Advertising in UK: Self-regulated and co-regulated
  • Telecoms licensing: Regulated and co-regulated



Statutory regulation

  • You get told what and how to do it


  • a generic term for co-operative forms of regulation that are designed to achieve public objectives and that contain elements of self-regulation as well as of traditional command and control regulation. (Palzer, 2002)


  • a regulatory framework under which a group of firms or individuals exert control over their own membership and their behaviour. (Baldwin and Cave, 1999)
under review
Under review
  • TVWF: Audio Visual Media Services Directive
  • US: Extend broadcast regulation to cable?
  • India: Broadcasting Bill to establish an independent regulator; Content Code in consultation
broadcasting regulation
Broadcasting Regulation


  • Linear services
  • Licensing – deregulatory in aim
  • Broadcasting Code

The focus is on adult audiences making informed choices within a regulatory framework which gives them a reasonable expectation of what they will receive, while at the same time robustly protecting those too young to exercise fully informed choices for themselves.

on demand services self regulation
On Demand Services: Self- Regulation


  • Non-linear services
  • Code of Practice - two main Principles:

(i) Members recognise their responsibility to assist Subscribers in their efforts to protect Children and Young People from unsuitable material;

(ii) Members recognise their responsibility to provide accurate, timely and reasonably prominent guidance in relation to their offerings of (a) content reasonably expected to cause significant offence or upset to some Customers

  • ATVOD Practice Statements
advertising self and co
Advertising: Self and Co


  • Non-broadcast advertising (incl ATVOD)
  • Broadcast advertising
  • Code created by industry
  • Backstop powers
telecommunications self and co
Telecommunications: Self and Co


  • Licensing

Independent Mobile Classification Body

    • Outside Ofcom
    • Industry generated
    • Opt in for material rated 18+
content regulation similarities
Content regulation - similarities

Some countries are applying standard consumer ‘labels’ across all content

so far co regulation in
So far… Co regulation in
  • Australia: All content for 15+ (M and MA15+) moved to opt in for 18+

Classification symbols: Film

in germany
…In Germany
  • Following the Erfurt massacre in 2002, the Parliament decided to adopt stricter criteria for the rating of audiovisual products
  • Jugendschutzgesetz (JuSchG, Law on the protection of minors): content classification and distribution across all broadcast and electronic platforms



Alterbeschränkunggemäß §14




ab 6 Jahren

gemäß §14




ab 16 Jahren

gemäß §14




ab 18 Jahren

gemäß §14




ab 12 Jahren

gemäß §14



what needs to be done
What needs to be done?
  • Evidence base is patchy
    • more established media little researched but still important
    • newer media forms little researched – evidence anecdotal
    • importance of conditions of access
  • Is it necessary to classify content ?
    • Age?
    • Genres?
    • Content descriptors?
  • Translate from traditional media to new delivery platforms?
    • Research shows little sign of convergence - tv-driven?

(Harm and Offence in Media Content: A review of the evidence. 2005 Bristol: Intellect Press )

Linking of harm and offence reasonable?
  • Legal instruments being created with little research evidence – and policy making?
  • Increasing reliance on media literacy?
media literacy
Media Literacy
  • Parental awareness of issues
  • Public confidence
  • Honest or a ‘cop out’?
who makes the decisions
Who makes the decisions?
  • Decisions about blocking – walled gardens?
  • Notice and take down procedures?
  • Compliance?
    • Costs of regulatory burden
summary 1
Summary (1)
  • Would appear to be a determination to be technology or platform –neutral
  • Industry involvement- cross over between external regulation and self regulation – is co regulation the only answer
summary 2
Summary (2)
  • How relevant is it to use traditional media as model for content regulation
    • Film
    • Broadcasting
    • Internet?
  • Compliance
summary 3
Summary (3)
  • Relevance of research
    • ensuring appropriate measures in place: start points
      • User relevance
      • Market friendly
      • Technically feasible
      • Changing norms
    • Flexibility of regulation
summary 4
Summary (4)
  • What about other issues – not covered here?
  • Linked with the particular characteristics of mobile are they greater problems and risks – or just opportunity?