The European Parliament, Council and Commission announced last week that they reached an agreement on the main elements of revised rules to apply to audiovisual media across Europe. The new rules will cover not only the traditional TV broadcasters but also the Video on Demand (VOD) providers, like Netflix, and Video sharing platforms, like Youtube.
The extension to VOD and Video Sharing platforms is limited. These platforms will have to protect minors from harmful content (which may impair the physical, mental or moral development), access to which would have to be restricted; and protect all citizens from incitement to hatred.
The European Commission says “that audiovisual media is increasingly target markets across national borders. At the end of 2013, more than 5,000 TV channels (not counting local channels and windows) were established in the EU. Of these, almost 2,000 targeted foreign markets (either EU or extra-EU). This share had increased from 28% in 2009 to 38% in 2013. As far as video-on-demand services are concerned, 31% of the video-on-demand services available in a Member State are established in another EU country. This underpins the continued added value of the EU action in this area.”
The directive on revision is called AVMSD – Audiovisual Media Services Directive – and it is in public debate / consultation since 2015.
One of the main news on the advertising is that TV broadcasters will not have anymore a limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertising. Instead, TV broadcasters will remain only with the 20% limit of broadcasting time, between 6:00 to 18:00.
Here the announced updates of the revised AVMSD:
- Strengthened Country of Origin Principle with more clarity on which Member State’s rules apply in each case, and the same procedures for both TV broadcasters and on-demand service providers as well as possibilities for derogations in the event of public security concerns and serious risks to public health.
- Better protection of minors against harmful content whether on TV or video-on-demand services. The new rules envisage that video-sharing platforms put appropriate measures in place to protect minors.
- European audiovisual rules extended to video-sharing platforms. The revised Directive will also apply to user-generated videos shared on platforms, e.g. Facebook, when providing audiovisual content is an essential functionality of the service.
- Stronger rules against hate speech and public provocation to commit terrorist offences thatprohibit incitement to violence or hatred and provocation to commit terrorist offences in audiovisual media services. The rules will also apply to video-sharing platforms to protect people from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences.
- Promoting European works in on-demand catalogues with at least 30% share of European content.
- More flexibility in television advertising. The revised rules give broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown – the overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time is maintained between 6:00 to 18:00. Instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day.
- Independence of audiovisual regulators will be reinforced in EU law by ensuring that they are legally distinct and functionally independent from the government and any other public or private body.