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BBC’s Lord Hall foresees demise of the watershed in the digital age

By John Glenday | Reporter

January 27, 2015 | 1 min read

BBC director general Lord Hall has predicted that the 21:00 watershed before which content restrictions come into play for broadcasters will be torn up within 30 years as the internet makes such efforts increasingly irrelevant.

Online services have expanded massively in recent years, allowing children to access content on demand, neutering the effectiveness of a restriction which was has been in place for over 50 years.

Ofcom still strictly enforces the cut-off for broadcast content, censuring broadcasters for 300 incidents of unsuitable content before the hour since 2003, but the BBC’s own iPlayer service allows all programming to be watched at any time of the day or night by viewers of any age.

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Commenting on this discrepancy Hall told The Radio Times: “The watershed is still a useful way of judging the content and sensitivities, and taste and decency issues.

"But has the watershed got a future in 20 or 30 years' time? I suspect not."

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