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Ofcom to allow PIN-protected post-watershed TV in the daytime

Post-watershed TV programmes will be allowed to be broadcast earlier in the day following a decision by Ofcom.

The broadcast regulator confirmed today its decision to extend use of an audience safeguard called 'mandatory daytime protection', which requires some programmes to be unlocked using a PIN code.

Currently, Ofcom's Broadcasting Code already allows  15-rated films to broadcast during the day on premium pay TV channels and up to 18-rated films on pay-per-view channels, providing they are protected by a mandatory PIN code, which can't be bypassed or removed by viewers.

From 1st January 2019, this scheme will be extended to cover all other types of programme that would normally not be allowed to be shown on UK television channels before 9pm. Examples include dramas that feature violent scenes or "strong language".

Examples of usage
Hypothetically, channels such as Sky Atlantic, Fox or SyFy could be free to schedule post-watershed content during the day, as long as viewers wanting to watch such programmes had to enter a PIN code. 

To qualify, all of the pay TV platforms such channels are available on would have to have a mandatory daytime protection system in place.  

But free-to-air channels and channels broadcasting the same schedule on both pay and free TV services would not be able to benefit, as no suitable mandatory daytime protection system is available on free-to-air platforms.

Ofcom says this update to the Broadcasting Code "aims to reflect modern viewing habits – where people can already view post-watershed content during the daytime via on-demand services. It will allow for increased choice in daytime viewers for adults, while maintaining a strong level of protection for younger viewers. "

The changes to the rules also include a requirement for broadcasters to clearly explain the new mandatory PIN systems in place to all users, and to provide clear guidance information with programmes to assist adults in assessing whether content is suitable for children.