ATVOD Picks Board Member for Seat Once Held by Adult Biz Rep

LONDON — ATVOD has found a replacement to fill an empty seat on its board previously held by an adult entertainment industry representative.

Chris Ratcliff, the programming director for Portland Broadcasting Ltd., operator of the U.K.’s Television X, left the eight-member board in September after serving an 18-month term.

In Ratcliff's place, ATVOD selected this week Alexander Kann, who worked on BBC iPlayer and Project Kangeroo/SeeSaw before joining as editor and general manager of Community Channel, a digital TV station in the U.K. dedicated to issues from the community, voluntary and charitable sector, both locally and internationally.

Kann was appointed non-independent board member and director, of which there are four on the board.

ATVOD officials said that when Kann joins the panel in January, he will "bring a fresh perspective to the ATVOD board along with his hands-on experience of a broad range of content, operational and technology issues."

Ruth Evans, ATVOD's chair, remarked that the end of Ratcliff's tenure as the board's only voice coming from the adult entertainment business doesn't mean that video-on-demand regulator will go deaf over challenges to policies and enforcement efforts.

"His departure does not affect our commitment to engage with the adult sector and we are currently considering how such engagement might be formalized within the existing industry forum structure,” Evans said.

Speaking to XBIZ in September, Ratcliff said that he wasn't removed from the position but that his position was non-renewed.

Ratcliff, at the time, said the change to the composition of the board wasn't “a deliberate attempt to disengage with the adult industry, but that the result was the same."

He noted that the timing was unfortunate as ATVOD planned ramped-up enforcement against some porn sites, as well as proactively extending its reach to target non-compliant companies operating overseas.

ATVOD, however, just recently reached out to the adult entertainment industry by inviting advocates to a conference in London titled “For Adults Only? — Protecting Children From Online Porn.”

Last week's conference, attended by an audience of free speech and adult entertainment advocates, as well as those advocating against Internet access to erotic content, discussed ways U.K. providers of online video services can keep hardcore porn out of reach of under-18s and what risks does it pose to children. The subject of blocking payments for foreign porn sites also was touched on.