Economist, Media Policy Expert Joins ATVOD's Board

Rhett Pardon

LONDON — ATVOD today announced that it has appointed Robin Foster as an independent board member and director.

Foster is an economist specializing in policy, strategy and regulation in the media and telecommunications sectors. Foster replaces Julia Hornle who left the board in March. 

Foster previously helped establish Ofcom, ATVOD's parent regulator, and played a key role in Ofcom’s first major strategic reviews of public service broadcasting, telecommunications and spectrum. He's spent time at the Independent Television Commission, where he led the strategy and economics team, and was strategy director at the BBC.

He also is a member of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board and the ComReg Expert Advisory Panel.

ATVOD, formally known as the Authority for Television On Demand, regulates on-demand programming on TV and the Internet in the U.K.

The majority of the agency's work consists of regulating U.K. websites that host videos to ensure that services containing adult content cannot be accessed by users under 18.  ATVOD enforces the under-18 regulation through Rule 11.

Rule 11 requires an effective CAC system that verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point of registration or access by the mandatory use of technical tools for age verification, including:

  • Confirmation of credit card ownership or other form of payment where mandatory proof that the account holder is 18 or over;
  • A personal digital identity management service, or PIN, which uses checks on an independent and reliable database, such as the electoral roll; or,
  • Other comparable proof of account ownership which effectively verifies age.