Industry News

Media Bill passed by House of Commons

The Media Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 30th January), which follows scrutiny by MPs of the new legislation since its introduction to parliament in November last year. The legislation was subsequently introduced to the House of Lords on Wednesday 31st January for further parliamentary scrutiny, which is required before it can become law.

The Media Bill includes key measures to support UK radio on voice-activated devices such as smart speakers. The clauses for radio will guarantee:

  • A listeners’ station of choice must be reliably provided in response to a voice command.
  • Smart speaker platforms must provide unfettered access (without charging) to radio stations licenced by Ofcom.
  • Broadcasters can request a default route for their stations to be delivered to listeners on smart speakers, for example via Global Player, Rayo, BBC Sounds, Radioplayer or TuneIn.
  • Platforms are prevented from overlaying content (such as advertising) over the top of radio services.

The Media Bill also includes clauses that reduce regulatory burdens on commercial radio stations, supporting investment by broadcasters in content and the long-term sustainability of the sector, while ensuring the provision of local news and information.

Radiocentre has been working with MPs from across the political spectrum to support measures for radio as the Bill made its way through its second reading, committee and report stage debates, before a successful vote at third reading. Following consideration by peers in the House of Lords the Media Bill will likely receive Royal Assent (and become law) before early summer.

Once enacted, Ofcom will begin consulting on how it will implement the new measures outlined in the legislation. Details on the Bill and the parliamentary process are available on the parliament website here.

Radiocentre’s CEO Matt Payton said:

“The fact that the Media Bill has been approved by the House of Commons is welcome news. The Bill includes important measures to help safeguard the future of radio in the UK and has been backed by MPs of all parties during the debates. We are grateful for all the support the Bill has received and look forward to working with members of the House of Lords as scrutiny of this important legislation continues.”