Regulated service list plan

27 November 2023

The Service List Registry is proposing an innovative solution to the problem of regulating television and online video services, addressing requirements for the availability, prominence, and accessibility of public service media.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been consulting on proposals to extend the regulation of Electronic Programme Guides in the United Kingdom.

The Electronic Programme Guides for the Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, and Youview platforms are currently regulated. Yet there has been a proliferation of other ways in which people access and watch television and video services that offer different forms of user interface.

This leads to concerns that the broadcast and online services of public service media organisations are becoming less visible and more difficult to access.

Rather than extending regulation to an increasing number of Electronic Programme Guides, the Service List registry has proposed a simpler approach to meet the regulatory requirements.

This approach involves establishing a Regulated Service List of national, regional, and local audiovisual media services and revising the Ofcom Code of Practice on Electronic Programme Guides to regulate these listed services, however they are accessed.

The proposal is that a Regulated Service List will include designated channels and services, to be determined by the Secretary of State in conjunction with Ofcom.

Inclusion in a Regulated Service List will require the relevant licence from the regulator Ofcom. Any product or service that provides access to a service included in such a Regulated Service List will be subject to regulation through the revised Ofcom Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice would include provisions for appropriate prominence and priority of the Designated Channels and services of public service media providers, determined with respect to their ordering in the Regulated Service List.

This system will provide appropriate prominence of public service media providers, consistent regulation for competing services, clarity for consumers through consistent and coherent presentation of broadcast and online services, and a level playing field to support innovation in an open and competitive market.

A similar system known as the Public Value List has been agreed by media authorities in Germany and is already in operation.

The concept of a Regulated Service List is already included in the open DVB-I specification for service discovery but is not limited to this. An ordered list of services can be represented in many ways but is unambiguous in intention about the priority and prominence of specified services. This provides regulatory clarity about the expectations for compliance and will deliver greater consistency in the consumer experience.

Further information is available at the Service List Registry web site at

About the Service List Registry

The Service List Registry is a federated online directory of audiovisual media services, based on open standards. Registered regulators, media providers, and distributors can manage lists of offerings available online and through traditional broadcast networks. This enables compatible devices, displays and applications with different capabilities to discover and access relevant services from multiple sources, offering users choice, convenience and control, on any screen.

Regulated service list recommendations
  • Regulation should continue to apply to existing regulated Electronic Programme Guides, namely those of Freeview, Freesat, YouView, Sky, and Virgin Media.

  • Existing regulations should apply to Designated Channels in relation to Appropriate Prominence. This should also apply to the online services and associated online applications of public service media organisations, namely the BBC and those providing Channel 3 services, Channel 4, Channel 5, and S4C.

  • As the relevant regulator, Ofcom should in consultation with stakeholders draw up a Regulated Service List, including Designated Channels and online services and the licensed audiovisual media services of any other media providers that wish to be included the list. The Regulated Service List may apply to specific services nationally, regionally, or locally.

  • Ofcom should in consultation with stakeholders develop a revised Code of Practice relating to the presentation and accessibility of services in a Regulated Service List, with specific reference to the Appropriate Prominence and priority of Designated Channels.

  • Any product or service that provides a User Interface to facilitate access to any audiovisual media service listed in a Regulated Service List must comply with the revised Code of Practice.

  • Under the revised Code of Practice, any service listed in a Regulated Service List must have a relevant licence from Ofcom.

  • Any Designated Channel in a Regulated Service List must be made available on a must-offer and must-carry basis subject to any reasonable contractual carriage conditions.

  • Any Regulated Service List must specify default channel numbering and genre classification, assigned by Ofcom according to the revised Code of Practice.

  • Any Designated Channels in the relevant Regulated Service List must be presented within a User Interface with Appropriate Prominence with respect to the priority and numerical order defined in the list according to the nation or region of the user.

  • A User Interface will not be obliged to use numbers to identify services but those that do should adopt the default numbering and ordering scheme for the relevant Regulated Service List as far as practical.

  • Ofcom should be required to develop and publish the Regulated Service List and a revised Code of Practice within 12 months and products and services should have 18 months from publication to comply with its provisions.

  • Any exemptions from compliance with the Code of Practice for practical or operational reasons should be administered by Ofcom on a case-by-case basis.

Regulation of Electronic Programme Guides

DVB-I is an open standard for Service Discovery and Programme Metadata, developed by the European Broadcasting Union and the DVB Project based in Geneva, published as DVB BlueBook A177 and as ETSI TS 103 770.

Service List Registry
Brock House
19 Langham Street

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7993 2278


Contact us

Service Registry Limited is registered in England and Wales as company number 14040796.