ATVOD Slates Summit With Credit Card Companies

LONDON ­­­– A summit between financial institutions and video-on-demand regulator ATVOD reportedly will take place next month in an effort to hammer out an agreement that could effectively put a crimp on revenue generated by foreign hardcore porn sites.

ATVOD CEO Pete Johnson announced earlier this year that some websites that market to U.K. consumers could have funds blocked by banks and credit card companies if their operators fail to stop children accessing the sites.

The move to block revenue is intended to address the growing exposure of explicit online porn, particularly from adult tube sites that offer an endless amount of free content, according to Johnson.

This summer Prime Minister David Cameron announced an opt-in system under which households would be denied sexually explicit online material unless they specifically asked for such access.

Now regulators are seeking a voluntary deal with banks and credit card firms to tackle sites that don’t employ age verification.

According to The Telegraph of London, the summit will take place next month with hopes that talks will go smoothly to finalize a deal. Sources told the paper that ministers would be prepared to consider legislation in the alternative.

Johnson earlier this year said in a report that recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that U.K. providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18s.

“This free, easy to access content is not being made available as a public service, it is being made available as a business model,” he said. “Essentially you provide a lot of stuff for free, you get millions and millions of people to access your website and then you sell them the premium rate of the service, which has higher quality images, longer scenes, a wider range of content and all the rest of it.”

The summit will be held with the U.K. Cards Association, the British Bankers Association, the Payments Council and the leading credit card companies early next month.

Later next month, Cameron will hear testimony from companies including Google and Yahoo to demand to know how they have progressed since July, when he demanded that they block explicit web searches.

ATVOD's Johnson will discuss new rules and enforcement targeting adult entertainment companies at XBIZ EU. The Q&A session, slated for Monday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m., is the kickoff seminar at XBIZ EU.