QuickLinks - Audiovisual
QuickLinks - Audiovisual
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
- EU - UK govt opposes extension of TVWF scope
In its key response to the European Commission the UK government has largely opposed the extension of 'TV-type' regulation to the whole sector of 'audio-visual content services'. The government argues that the proposed definitions of 'linear' and 'non-linear' services and of 'audio-visual content services' are unclear, would place some industries such as publishing in jeaopardy of double regulation, and would impose unnecessary regulatory burdens on the emerging 'convergence' services.
- EU - UK govt opposes product placement on TV
The UK government has published its official responses to the EC's 'issues papers' on revision of the TV Without Frontiers Directive. Whereas Ofcom has showed sympathy with commercial broadcasters who want relaxation of the rules in order to tap new sources of revenue, the government states: 'In relation to the rules on the identification and separation of advertising, the UK view is that one of the core principles enshrined in the TVWF Directive is that people should know - and be put in a position to recognise - when they are being sold to. The rules in any successor to the TVWF Directive should reflect this. The UK would therefore urge caution in abandoning the principle of separation so as to allow product placement.
- Liverpool and the TWF Directive
If you're interested in the debate on the reform of the Television Without Frontiers Directive, I can recommend a report on the Liverpool conference written by Don Redding of Public Voice as an excellent summary of the debates and views.
- UK - House of Lords Select Committee Blasts BBC Charter Review
The House of Lords Select Committee chaired by Lord Fowler has released a report that is severely critical of the DCMS Green Paper on BBC charter review. We're told that: The process is flawed. The Charter Review should be performed by statute (ie, vote in Parliament) not by royal charter. The current process is carried forth only by government and thus (valid) criticisms of the new BBC structure are simply being ignored; License fee settlements above the rate of inflation must be granted only in 'exceptional' cases; Ofcom should regulate the BBC; The 'BBC Trust' concept should be scrapped for a unitary board with a majority of non-executives.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- EU - Between Culture and Commerce, Liverpool, 22 September 2005
Major Audiovisual Conference - Between Culture and Commerce, Liverpool, 22 September 2005. Speeches and final reports of the working groups.
- Television across Europe: Regulation, Policy and Independence
The pivotal role of television in supporting democracy in Europe is under threat. Public service broadcasters are compromising quality to compete with commercial channels, and many of them depend on Governments or political parties. Meanwhile, ever-larger concentrations are developing in the commercial sector, often with clear political affiliations. These developments jeopardise broadcasting pluralism and diversity, with the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe most at risk. These are the main findings of the monitoring report Television across Europe: regulation, policy and independence. The report covers 20 European countries - EU members, candidates and potential candidates - from the UK to Turkey, and from Romania to France. At 1662 pages, it is the largest ever comparative survey of its kind. The report analyses broadcasting across the continent and addresses policy recommendations to national and international authorities and groups. The monitoring has been carried out in cooperation with the Network Media Program (NMP) of the Open Society Institute and in collaboration with national expert reporters and partner organisations in each country.
Issue no. 346 - 2 October 2005
- EU - «Télévision sans frontières»: le raid libéral de Reding
Des tunnels de pub sans fin, des programmes coupés deux , trois , dix fois par les réclames... Du téléachat comme s'il en pleuvait et Navarro s'extasiant sur sa dernière Peugeot. Voilà le cauchemar qui se dessine derrière la révision de la directive «télévision sans frontières» (TSF).
- EU - Speech by Ofcom Chairman on the review of the EU Television Without Frontiers Directive
David Currie, Ofcom Chairman. Introductory remarks at the Liverpool Conference on the review of the EU Television Without Frontiers ('TWF') Directive, 21 September 2005. We in Ofcom start from the position that is doubtful whether the best way to promote such new content and new business models in Europe is through more regulation. So, a first request on our part has been for the Commission to assess carefully the costs and benefits of regulating content delivered over non-broadcast platforms. Ofcom's view, boiled down to its essential, is one of scepticism about the case made for the extension of scope, in so far as it seeks to extend regulation to services currently in their infancy, and concern about the practicalities involved.
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
- UK - ITV and BBC take on Sky with Freesat launch
ITV and the BBC are to launch a free digital satellite service in a long-anticipated move to take on market-leading pay-TV company BSkyB. The broadcasters are working together to develop a Freesat service that would "complement" Freeview, the digital terrestrial service that has been sold to more than 5 million homes.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- EU - European Court holds pay-per-view is broadcasting
(European Audiovisual Observatory)
The European Court of Justice has given a decision with implications as to the scope of the Television without Frontiers Directive 89/552/EEC (as amended by Directive 97/36/EC), in a case taken by the Dutch company Mediakabel against the Commissariaat voor de Media (Dutch Media Regulatory Authority). Mediakabel offers a pay-per-view service by the name of Filmtime which the Dutch Media Authority considered to be a television broadcasting service and Mediakabel as an interactive service. A television broadcasting service is subject to the requirements of the TWF Directive, in particular the obligation to reserve a certain percentage of time to European works. The Court held that:
- A service comes within the concept of 'television broadcasting' referred to in Article 1(a) of Directive 89/552, as amended by Directive 97/36, if it consists of the initial transmission of television programmes intended for reception by the public, that is, an indeterminate number of potential television viewers, to whom the same images are transmitted simultaneously. The manner in which the images are transmitted is not a determining element in that assessment.
- A service such as Filmtime, which consists of broadcasting television programmes intended for reception by the public and which is not provided at the individual request of a recipient of services, is a television broadcasting service within the meaning of Article 1(a) of Directive 89/552, as amended by Directive 97/36. Priority is to be given to the standpoint of the service provider in the analysis of the concept of 'television broadcasting service'. However, the situation of services which compete with the service in question is not relevant for that assessment.
- UK - Channel 4 fined
Ofcom has fined Channel 4 £5000 after the Richard and Judy show appeared to plug the energy drink Red Bull. It is the first time the communications watchdog has fined any terrestrial television channel. Under Ofcom's Programme Code, undue prominence may be given in any programme to a commercial product or service.
Issue no. 342 - 31 July 2005
Issue no. 341 - 9 July 2005
- BE - Le CSA condamne deux chaînes pour violation de la protégeant les mineurs
(Droit et Nouvelles Technologies)
par Etienne Wery et Paul Van den Bulck. Le CSA (belge) vient de rendre deux décision intéressantes vis-à-vis de chaînes n'ayant pas respecté la signalétique TV destinée à protéger les mineurs. Ces deux décisions sont aussi intéressantes parce que la CSA y établit un lien automatique entre la classification cinéma et la classification TV, et qu'il définit ce qu'il entend par pornographie.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
Issue no. 339 - 29 May 2005
- EU - European films and the Information Society
Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Informal Meeting of Ministers for Audiovisual, Europe Day, Cannes, 16 May 2005.
- EU - Opportunities and challenges for European films in the information society
On 17 May, the Cannes International Film Festival will welcome the third Europe Day, whose topic is 'Europe's cinema and the Information Society'. The EU Culture and Audiovisual Ministers will discuss the effects of new means of distribution for audiovisual works, such as film online and video on demand, together with directors, economic operators - producers, channel owners, studio heads - and the new ones - telecoms businesses. After the morning discussion between politicians, artists and professionals, the afternoon of Europe Day 2005 will be dedicated to the inaugural meeting of the "Leadership Summit on film on-line". Under the presidency of the European Commissioner Viviane Reding, fifteen CEOs from the worlds of telecommunications, the Internet and audiovisual creation will open a dialogue with a view to reaching agreement at European level on the development conditions needed for film on-line in Europe.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- EU - Commission closes inquiries into French, Italian and Spanish public broadcasters
Following changes made to the financing of public broadcasters in France, Italy and Spain, the European Commission has closed the existing procedures under EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 88(1)). All three Member States have either accepted or already implemented measures to introduce greater transparency and proportionality in their funding systems, which will help to guard against cross-subsidies for activities not related to public service broadcasting.
- EU - Der öffentlich-rechtliche Rundfunk in einer konvergierenden Medienwelt
Vortrag von Viviane Reding, Mitglied der Europäischen Kommission zuständig für Informationsgesellschaft und Medien, ARD meets Europe, Brüssel, den 19. April 2005.
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- EU - Audiovisual Policy - Contact Committee
With the 1997 revision of the "Television without Frontiers Directive" the Contact Committee was set up to monitor the implementation of the directive and developments in the sector and as a forum for the exchange of views. It deals not only with the existing audiovisual policy but also with the relevant developments arising in this sector. Chaired by the Commission and composed of representatives of the authorities of the Member States, it may be convened at the request of any of the delegations (Art. 23a TVWF Directive). see also Regulation of TV and information society services in the Member States.
Issue no. 333 - 2 March 2005
- UK - BBC Charter Review Green Paper released
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published the Green Paper on the future of the BBC. A few of the key proposals in the Green Paper: The abolition of the current board of Governors to be replaced by a new, transparent and accountable BBC Trust to oversee the corporation with ultimate responsibility for the licence fee and for making sure the BBC fulfils its public service obligations. The BBC to continue to be established by a Royal Charter, the next one should last for 10 years. Continuation of the licence fee at a level to be set in the future. A review of whether there is a case for other methods of funding the BBC, particularly subscription, before the end of the next Charter period.
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- UK - BBC should be regulated by a Commission, says panel
The Independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Lord Burns, has now delivered a letter and its final advice to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports on the future governance and regulation of the BBC. The conclusion is that the Board of Governors cannot be both the defender of the BBC and its regulator and that there should be a new Public Service Broadcasting Commission to regulate the BBC.
Issue no. 328 - 4 January 2005
- UK - BBC shuts websites to assist charter renewal pitch
The BBC is closing a string of successful websites, in order to reinvest the money in projects that have a clearer public service focus. It will announce today that its network of sites, which are hugely successful but continually provoke complaints from commercial rivals, will be slimmed down to help make the case for charter renewal.
Issue no. 327 - 16 December 2004
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- DE - Bundesregierung will Fortbestand von ARD und ZDF im Online-Zeitalter sichern
Auf Initiative der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Christina Weiss, werden die Kulturminister der Europäischen Union auf ihrem Rat am 16. November 2004 in Brüssel die Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten des öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks im digitalen Zeitalter diskutieren.
- UK - Public value key to BBC websites
The BBC is to close some websites and invest in those that add 'sufficient public value', in response to the Graf report's recommendations. The report - commissioned by the government to examine the BBC's online services - was published in July. The BBC board of governors has announced a series of measures to achieve a 'distinctive online operation'.
Issue no. 322 - 17 October 2004
- EU - Sport and Television: Ready to Face New Challenges?
Viviane REDING, Member of the European Commission responsible for Education and Culture, Sportel, Monaco, 11 October 2004.
- UK - Television and the Digital Future
RTS Fleming Memorial Lecture 2004 by David Currie, Ofcom Chairman. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be asked to deliver this year's Fleming lecture. The timing is apposite. Ofcom published on 30 September the second phase of our report into Public Service Broadcasting. This is the first opportunity to talk about the context in which that report has been written, and the reasons for our conclusions and proposals.
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- UK - Ofcom proposes new public service TV channel to rival BBC
Radical proposals for the future of public service broadcasting were outlined including a completely new public service TV channel to keep the BBC in check, which could be run by Channel 4, ITV or any other group including a newspaper firm. The channel is the 'big idea' in media regulator Ofcom's long-awaited report on the future of public service broadcasting in the UK. In a surprise move, Ofcom says the competition from a new Channel 4-type operation is needed to help incentivise the BBC to continue operating as a public service broadcaster when analogue TV is phased out in 2012. Plain English summary (recommended) PSB2: Ofcom review of public service television broadcasting: Phase 2 - Meeting the digital challenge (PDF), Executive summary and recommendations and News release (OFCOM).
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
Issue no. 316 - 1 August 2004
- EU - TV broadcasts are 2/3 European
The European Commission adopted a Communication on the implementation of Articles 4 and 5 of the "Television without Frontiers" Directive on promotion of the broadcasting of European works, including those of independent producers. The average broadcasting time for European works in the EU-15 was 66.95% in 2001 and 66.10% in 2002. The showing of independent producers' works broadcast by all European channels in all Member States was 37.75% in 2001 and 34.03% in 2002. The share allocated to recent European works by independent producers was 23.32% in 2001 and 21.10% in 2002.
- UK - Digital switchover put back to 2012
Culture secretary Tessa Jowell confirmed that the analogue TV signal would not be switched off before 2012, two years later than previously promised by the government. But she said the process of switching off BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five's analogue services could start in some regions as soon as 2007.
- UK - Scrap BBC licence fee, says majority
Two-thirds of the public believe that the BBC should no longer be funded by the licence fee alone, according to a new government report What You Said about the BBC that will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the corporation. But the research concluded that the licence fee was the 'least worst' option for funding the BBC which was deemed to have an overall 'satisfaction rating' of 75%. However the report highlighted widespread concern even among the BBC's strongest supporters that programming had 'declined in quality'. see also Public mystified by BBC regulation.
Issue no. 314 - 24 June 2004
- UK - BBC Charter review gets independent advisory panel
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has appointed an independent panel of experts to help with the review of the BBC's Royal Charter - a document that shapes the BBC, setting out its aims, objectives and functions. The current charter - the seventh in the BBC's history - runs out on 31 December 2006. The panel's appointment was agreed with Terry Burns, Tessa Jowell's independent advisor on the review of the charter.
Issue no. 313 - 13 June 2004
- UK - BSkyB launches rival to Freeview
Broadcaster BSkyB is planning to launch a free-to-air satellite package offering 200 TV and radio channels and interactive services. The service, to be launched later this year, will compete with Freeview, the free-to-air digital terrestrial service backed by the BBC and BSkyB. For a one-off payment of £150, it will include the BBC's digital services and Sky News as well as other free stations. But unlike Freeview, a satellite dish will be needed to pick up the service.
Issue no. 307 - 25 April 2004
- EU - The Future of European Audiovisual Policy'
Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Westminster Media Forum, London, 22 April 2004.
- EU - TV advertising - Commission interpretation of the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive
Through a Communication C (2004) 1450, the Commission intends to clarify its interpretation of the about the proper interpretation of the rules on advertising in the Television without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive in relation to new advertising techniques, such as split screen, interactive advertising and virtual advertising. The Communication shows that new advertising techniques and new forms of advertising are compatible with the Directive, provided that their use respects the objectives of general interest pursued by the Directive, namely the viewers right to a clear separation between editorial content and commercial communication as well as the viewers right to protection against excessive advertising, as detailed in the Directive, and the right of the rights-holders to the respect of the integrity of their audiovisual works. In accordance with the case law of the European Court of Justice, it is based on the principle that a prohibition of and advertising technique or a form of advertising applies to the extent and to the extent only that it is clearly stated in the Directive. However, it is without prejudice of the Directive's faculty for the Member States to foresee stricter and/or more detailed rules for broadcasters under their jurisdiction.
Issue no. 306 - 3 April 2004
- UK 'not ready' for TV switch-off
Media watchdog Ofcom has warned that only 85% of British homes are likely to have moved to digital in time for the proposed switch-off of analogue TV. The organisation says that market forces will not be enough to persuade all viewers to make the transition. Analogue is due to be terminated between 2006 and 2010 but may stall without government intervention, Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said.
Issue no. 304 - 21 March 2004
- EU - Ireland tries to re-open regulatory debate on transfrontier TV
At a meeting in Ireland, EU Ministers were presented with a report by the European Audiovisual Observatory which re-opens the debate on regulating transfrontier TV. The Commission is opposed to the idea. Transfrontier television in the EU has developed considerably over the last fifteen years, with now over 200 channels targeting viewers outside their country of origin, EU ministers were told at an informal meeting last week. The report came from the European Audiovisual Observatory and concluded that the question of which Member State has jurisdiction over which broadcaster becomes highly relevant in the current context of growth in the broadcasting sector. Moreover, the report goes on, new technologies such as online broadcasting over the Internet will make the issue all the more pressing in the near future. The presidency is currently trying to push for a revision of broadcasting rules that would tackle this issue. Dermot Ahern, the Irish minister for communications said ten EU countries gave support to his country's position to regulate stations originating from one country but broadcasting specifically into another. In Ireland's view, it is the target country that should be responsible for regulation, not the country in which the station is emitting as is the case under the current rules.
Issue no. 301 - 8 February 2004
- UK - BBC: So what now?
It has been an extraordinary few days in British broadcasting history. As the BBC reels from the fallout of the Hutton report many are asking what lies ahead for the corporation - especially with charter renewal around the corner. We start this issue by asking top industry figures how they see the future for the BBC, its news operation - and the way it is run.
Issue no. 300 - 1 February 2004
Issue no. 297 - 11 January 2004
Issue no. 295 - 21 December 2003
- EU - Commission presents new roadmap for update of EU audiovisual policy
The European Commission has just adopted a new policy document on regulation in the audiovisual sector COM(2003) 784. This follows a wide public consultation on the 'Television without frontiers' (TVWF) directive, as well as a comprehensive debate with the member states, which helped to identify those areas where further action is necessary. As a result of the consultation process, the Communication on the future of European regulatory audiovisual policy proposes a two step approach : the rules on television advertising and on the protection of minors will be the subject of new initiatives in the first quarter of 2004. For other issues, where further reflection is needed, work with experts in focus groups and independent studies will take place in 2004 as a preparation for any legislative proposal concerning an update of the Directive that could be put forward in 2005.
Issue no. 294 - 14 December 2003
- DE - Landesmedienanstalten veröffentlichen zweiten Medienkonzentrationsbericht der KEK
Der zweite Bericht der Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich (KEK) über die Entwicklung der Konzentration und über Maßnahmen zur Sicherung der Meinungsvielfalt im privaten Rundfunk mit dem Titel "Sicherung der Meinungsvielfalt in Zeiten des Umbruchs" wurde der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt. Dieser Bericht steht alle drei Jahre zur Veröffentlichung an.
- UK - BBC faces questions of trust ahead of debate into its future
The BBC must prove it can be trusted to provide impartial and factually accurate news coverage or else face fundamental changes in the way it is regulated, the Culture Secretary said. In an interview with The Observer, Tessa Jowell said she wanted a 'root-and-branch' debate about the BBC's future ahead of the renewal of its charter in 2006. Although she made it clear that the review was not sparked by the Hutton inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, she said the findings of the investigation and the BBC's role in the affair would be taken into account.
Issue no. 287 - 11 October 2003
- OSCE - Minority-Language Related Broadcasting and Legislation
by T. McGonagle, B. Davis Noll & M. Price, Eds., Study commissioned by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, carried out by the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), Oxford University and the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam.
Issue no. 286 - 3 October 2003
- EU - Informal Council of Audiovisual Ministries, Siracusa 12-14 September 2003
The 1998 Recommendation on protection of minors and human dignity supplements the regulations contained in the Television without Frontiers Directive and represents the first legal community instrument on all electronic mass media including the Internet. It seems to have played a useful role in orientating domestic legislations also for the development of domestic self-regulation, thus fostering an atmopsphere of confidence that goes to the advantage of the development of the industry of information audiovisual services. Hence it should be implemented by seeking the best forms of cooperation at the Community level aimed, for instance at harmonising the systems for classifying the various audiovisual products, leaving it up to each Member State to have competence over the evaluation of the contents. The ultimate aim is that of producing a quality television, but also that of exercising closer control on the use of the Internet that may enhance the advantages of this important modern communication instrument and may limit the risks and dangers of children using the network without control. A harmonised approach to these problems could be beneficial for the audiovisual policy of the European Union.
Issue no. 285 - 28 September 2003
- EU - TV and radio broadcasting: Commission pushes digital switchover
The Commission published a Communication on 22 September aimed at assisting Member States in making the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. The Communication on Digital Switchover sets out a guide on how best to migrate from analogue to digital radio and television broadcasting in a consumer-friedly fashion. Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen emphasised that the EU was not considering 'intrusive measures' like prescribing deadlines for digital switchover, since progress varies widely across the Union. However, the Commission is actively monitoring national processes and will continue to run benchmarking exercises. The Commission's aim is to elicit voluntary switchovers through a series of incentives. Under the eEurope2005 Action Plan, Member States must publish their digital switchover plans by the end of 2003. In 2002, digital television's EU-wide penetration stood at 21 per cent of all households.
Issue no. 284 - 21 September 2003
- EU - Parliament seeks complete overhaul of 'Television Without Frontiers' directive
The Parliament adopted a resolution on 4 September on the fourth report on the application of the Commission's directive on 'Television Without Frontiers'. MEPs restated their opinion that the directive requires a complete overhaul to take account of technological developments and changes in the structure of the audiovisual market. The current directive aims to ensure free movement of European television programmes, free access to events of major importance, the promotion of European and recently produced independent works and the protection of minors and of public order. MEPs want the directive to be re-presented in the form of a framework package which would bring together the current directive's underlying principles, the e-commerce directive and the directive co-ordinating certain copyright rules applicable to broadcasting and retransmission. The MEPs also reiterated that pluralism in broadcasting is an important safeguard for democracy and cultural diversity. MEPs are concerned about the integrity of the media, which they feel is threatened by growing concentration in the industry. Several amendments were adopted calling for rules to be laid down on ownership of television media in order to ensure freedom and pluralism. see European Parliament resolution and Report A5-0251/2003 rapporteur: Roy PERRY.
- EU-wide rules on TV ads should remain in force
The existing EU-wide rules on television advertising should remain in force, while the qualitative restrictions should be adapted to the new advertising techniques, participants in the informal Audiovisual Council decided on 12-14 September. According to the ministers meeting in Syracuse, Italy, the pertinent quantitative restrictions should be based on co-regulation, i.e., on reconciliation of the views of all affected stakeholders. In this context, Germany and Italy urged the relaxation of quantitative restrictions on advertising. The following new forms of television advertising - falling into the qualitative bracket - were considered by the Council: 'split screen', with advertising appearing simultaneously with televised content, product placement in films, interactive advertising, and 'virtual imaging' (ads that appear only on TV screens during broadcasts of live events, such as football games).
Index page see also Convergence | Telecommunications
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham firstname.lastname@example.org
- a free newsletter appearing approximately once a week. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
- a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.