QuickLinks - Audiovisual
QuickLinks - Audiovisual
Issue no. 404 - 21 December 2009
- EU - Commission investigation into funding system for Spanish public broadcaster RTVE
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under the EU state aid rules into the new tax based funding system for the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE. Spain is planning to modify the public broadcasting system by abolishing advertising and other commercial activities of RTVE and replacing this source of income by newly introduced taxes on TV and telecommunications operators. The Commission does not object to the modification of the funding system as such, but has doubts concerning the compatibility of the new tax with EU law. In particular, the Commission doubts whether the new taxes are in line with EU rules on electronic communications networks and services.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
- CoE - Recommendation 1855 (2009) - The regulation of audio-visual media services
(Council of Europe)
The Parliamentray Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) points out that media regulation must respect freedom of expression and information. Technological change in the audiovisual media has made it necessary to revise the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), whose aim is to ensure freedom of transmission and retransmission of broadcasting in Europe regardless of frontiers. It proposed that the current revision of the ECTT should respect this freedom, define the "public service mission" of audiovisual media services and re-examine the role of the Standing Committee with regard to its supervisory function over compliance with convention obligations and arbitration. PACE also proposed that measures should be taken to address the allocation of radio-frequency spectrum following the analogue switch-off of broadcasting in many countries as well as the independence of national regulators for the audiovisual media sector.
Issue no. 398 - 13 April 2009
- UK - Online video regulation structure outlined by Government
Media regulator Ofcom will take over the regulation of video on demand services, but will delegate it to an industry-formulated co-regulator. The Government has published details of how it will ensure that the UK complies with the European Union's Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, which extends regulation to television-like programmes regardless of the medium used to show them.
Issue no. 397 - 8 March 2009
- EU - And the Oscar goes to...: Unprecedented success for EU-supported film "Slumdog Millionaire"
8 Oscars were awarded to "Slumdog Millionaire" at the 81st Academy Award ceremony in Hollywood. This UK film was co-funded under the EU's film support programme MEDIA. These include the most prestigious prizes: Best Film and Best Director (Danny Boyle). "Slumdog Millionaire" received €830,000 support from the MEDIA programme for distribution in 2008 and 2009. The total budget of the film is estimated to be €11 million. See also Seven EU-funded films nominated for Oscars for more on the EU's MEDIA programme, the other Oscar nominees co-funded under MEDIA and previous Oscar winners.
Issue no. 394 - 7 December 2008
Issue no. 391 - 31 August 2008
- EU - Almost two thirds of television time is "Made in Europe"
More than 63% of Europe's television broadcasters' programming time is devoted to European works and over 36% to works by independent European producers. These new figures come from the European Commission's eighth report on effectiveness of EU rules on the promotion of European works, which covers the period 2005-2006. This report which is published every two years is based on information provided by the EU Member States and monitors the promotion of European works on European TV screens under the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive.
- EU - State aid: Commission approves rescue loan for TV 2 Denmark
The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty's rules on state aid, a credit facility granted by the Danish Ministry of Culture to support TV 2 Danmark AS. The Commission concluded that the credit facility, which addresses the company's cash flow problems, constitutes rescue aid in line with the EU rules on state aid to companies in difficulty. In due time, the Commission will review whether the credit is fully reimbursed or whether appropriate restructuring measures to restore the long term viability of TV 2 Danmark AS are taken.
Issue no. 390 - 20 July 2008
- FR - Sarkozy looking to build national media champion
When President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in January that he would ban commercials from public television, it took only moments for the share price of private broadcasters to react. It was also the first hint that behind a profound and controversial shake-up of the French public television sector loomed a much larger vision - one involving private media companies, some of Sarkozy's closest friends in the business and a long-held ambition of the president to groom that special breed of company he had already created in other industries: the national champion.There is no French multimedia empire comparable to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. or Bertelsmann of Germany, which own newspapers, television channels and radio interests and Internet ventures worldwide. And there is no French equivalent of British Broadcasting Corp., with an international reputation and no advertising pressures.
Issue no. 388 - 1 June 2008
- EU-funded films sweep up the prestigious Palme d'0r and Grand Prize at Cannes
Amongst the films receiving honours at the awards ceremony at this year's Cannes Film Festival were 4 films funded by the EU's Media Programme: "Entre Les Murs" directed by Laurent Cantet (France) won the Palme d'Or, whilst "Gomorra" directed by Matteo Garrone (Italy), swept up the Grand Prize of the festival. "Le silence de Lorna" directed by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Belgium) won the prize for the best scenario, and the film "Tulpan", directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy (Kazahstan) was awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard. These films were amongst the 14 screened at the Festival that had been developed or distributed with support of more than EUR 900 000 from the European Union's MEDIA programme.
Issue no. 387 - 12 May 2008
- EU - Spain not complying with television advertising restrictions
The Commission has sent Spain a reasoned opinion for failing to comply with the television advertising rules in the Television without frontiers Directive. The infringement procedure, started in July 2007, is based on a monitoring report that found that the main TV channels in Spain, both publicly funded and commercial, failed regularly and by some margin to restrict advertising and teleshopping spots to 12 minutes per clock hour.
Issue no. 382 - 6 January 2008
- EU - Audiovisual Media Services Directive
Directive 2007/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27.
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
- EU - Audiovisual Media Services Directive is passed
A new Directive that will regulate TV advertising and product placement across the EU was passed by the European Parliament. The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive will cover internet TV and on-demand services. Member States now have two years to make the Directive national law. It replaces the 1997 TV Without Frontiers Directive. The rules do not apply to private websites. They cover an "audiovisual media service" that is "under the editorial responsibility of a media service provider". Editorial responsibility requires "effective control both over the selection of the programmes and over their organisation either in a chronological schedule, in the case of television broadcasts, or in a catalogue, in the case of on-demand audiovisual media services." A site like YouTube will not be caught by the rules. TV programmes offered 'on demand' from the internet will be covered by rules concerning protection of minors and product placement though not rules concerning the amount of time allowed for advertising.
Issue no. 380 - 30 September 2007
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
- EU - Agreement expected on "Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers" Directive
The EU "Education, Youth Affairs and Culture" Council will meet on 24-25 May 2007 in Brussels. For the audiovisual and media items on the agenda on 24 May, the Commission will be represented by Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. At this Council, political agreement is expected on one of the priorities of the Commission and of the German Presidency: the Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers (AVMS) Directive.
- EU - Ministers commit to a vibrant European audiovisual sector without frontiers at Cannes
EU Ministers for Culture gathered at the Cannes International Film Festival to pledge their support for Europe's audiovisual industry at a time when it faces unprecedented change, driven largely by the impact of digital technologies and the resulting change in audience behaviour. The EU Ministers' commitment to the audiovisual sector was underlined by their adoption in yesterday's meeting of the Culture Council, of the Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers directive (see IP/07/706). This will modernise the rules for traditional and emerging audiovisual media services in response to technological change and gives more flexibility to European TV- and filmmakers to produce digital content thanks to more relaxed advertising rules. See also Presenting the new Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive: Frequently asked questions.
Issue no. 373 - 11 March 2007
- EU - New "Audiovisual without Frontiers" Directive
The Commission has unveiled a consolidated text of the modernised "Television without Frontiers" Directive. After a first reading in the European Parliament and the Council, there is now broad agreement with the Commission about the future legal framework for Europe's audiovisual sector. The new Directive reaffirms the pillars of Europe's audiovisual model, which are cultural diversity, protection of minors, consumer protection, media pluralism, and the fight against racial and religious hatred,. The Commission also proposes to ensure the independence of national media regulators. The consolidated text of the new Directive will now go into a second reading by the European Parliament and Council.
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
- EU - Audiovisual Media Services Directive
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities. (Codecision procedure: first reading)
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
- EU - EP votes on Audiovisual Media Services Directive in 1st reading
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities. See also Procedure file .
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- EU - Commission requests Greece to adopt new framework for broadcasting services
The European Commission has formally requested Greece to take the appropriate national measures regarding broadcasting services in order to comply with a Court of Justice ruling of 14th April 2005. The Court ruling confirmed that Greece had failed to transpose within the deadline the electronic communications liberalisation Directive 2002/77/EC. The Commission has asked Greece to reply before the end of December to its request.
- EU - Commission takes Sweden to Court for failure to end broadcasting services monopoly
The European Commission has decided to refer Sweden to the European Court of Justice for its failure to change rules giving state-owned company Boxer TV-Access AB a monopoly to provide access control services in Sweden's digital terrestrial broadcasting network. According to the Directive on competition in the markets for electronic communications networks and services (Commission Directive 2002/77/EC), Sweden had to abolish all monopoly rights for broadcasting transmission services by July 2003. However, Sweden has so far failed to abolish Boxer TV-Access AB's monopoly. The referral to the Court is the final stage of the infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- UK - Assessing Indirect Impacts of the EC Proposals for Video Regulation
An independent study conducted by RAND Europe, which looks at the potential indirect impact of the European Commission's proposed Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. Ofcom asked RAND Europe to look in particular at the potential indirect effects in three key sectors: IPTV, mobile multimedia and online games. Indirect effects refer, in particular, to the possible effect that regulation could have on companies' investment and location decisions. Ofcom believes that this report highlights some important economic risks inherent in the Commission's proposals. These risks are particularly important in relation to the new media industries that RAND Europe has examined and which are strategic for European future competitiveness. Executive Summary, 184 Kb. Full Print Version, 2.2 Mb
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- EU - European works' share of TV broadcasting time over 60%
Europe's television broadcasters on average devote over 60% of their programming time to European works and over 30% to works by independent European producers, says the European Commission in its seventh progress report on the promotion of European works (2003-2004. Broadcasters in the new EU Member States show as much European content as those in the EU-15.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- EU - Commission denies stifling new media with TV regulation
The European Commission has said that proposed regulations on European television will not destroy new media business models. The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) had said that extending the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive to new media broadcasting would be damaging. The move would 'risk dramatically reducing Europe's competitive edge and stifling innovation,' according to an MEF statement.
Issue no. 364 - 7 July 2006
- EU - UK Government attacks EC's 'dangerous' online media plans
The British Government has launched a fierce attack on the European Commission over proposed legislation that seeks to regulate online content. The UK Government called the proposals "ill thought-through and ill-conceived", and said that the proposals would inhibit economic growth. Shaun Woodward MP, Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism said "The problem is the absolute lack of clarity." Woodward said that the exact scope of the legislation the European Commission is proposing is "unclear", as it could cover a range of Internet services and mobile content providers.
- EU / UK : Minister compares Audiovisual Media Services Directive to Common Agricultural Policy
At the Westminster Media Forum seminar on the Television Without Frontiers Directive, Minister for Creative Industries Shaun Woodward constantly left his prepared script to make trenchant criticisms of the European Commission's new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. He confided in his audience that his officials had warned him against giving the impression that the UK Government is completely negative about Commissioner Reding's proposals, but then insisted: 'We are'. He asserted: 'She's got it wrong. We are right to be completely negative about it.'
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- EU - Europe defends online broadcasting plans
Commissioner Viviane Reding says the Television Without Frontiers directive will help businesses, but many big Internet players are wary of regulation. The European Commission (EC) has defended its proposal to revise the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive, saying that Internet businesses would benefit from the legislation.
- EU - Freedom of the media, effective co-regulation and media literacy
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. Freedom of the media, effective co-regulation and media literacy: cornerstones for an efficient protection of minors in the European Union. ICRA Roundtable Brussels 'Mission Impossible', Brussels, 14 June 2006.
- EU - Reflections on Brussels Summit on Future of Free Expression / Child Protection
(Progress & Freedom Foundation)
by Adam Thierer. I traveled to Brussels and, along with my friends at the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), co-hosted an interesting roundtable discussion entitled 'Mission Impossible: Protecting Children and Free Expression in Our New, Digital Content World.' The focus of the day's discussion was the same as previous ICRA roundtables that I have participated in and written about here before: What steps can we take to shield children from potentially objectionable media content without repressing freedom of speech / expression?
- UK - Consulting on the TWF Directive
The UK public consultation on the European Commission's proposals to amend the Television without Frontiers Directive - now to be known as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) - has opened. The consultation documents and full details on how to respond are available on the DCMS website.
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
- EU - Audiovisual media services directive
Sppech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. Audiovisual media services directive: the right instrument to provide legal certainty for Europe's media businesses in the next decade. Seminar "Regulating the new media landscape". Brussels, 7 June 2006. it is necessary to correct a misperception with which some players try to influence the discussion. This Commission proposal is not about new restrictive provisions but about giving effect to the freedoms of the EC Treaty and about paving the way for a better exercise of the fundamental right of freedom of expression across the borders in the EU. The overwhelming majority of blogs would not be covered by the Directive, in particular: private websites or blogs of a non-commercial nature; Blogs that do not have as their "principal purpose the delivery of moving images".
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
- EU - European Charter for Film Online endorsed by major industry players
At the Cannes Film Festival, major representatives of the film and content industry, of Internet service providers and of telecom operators from the EU and the U.S. endorsed the European Film Online Charter that they had jointly developed under the auspices of the European Commission. This Charter - the first of its kind in the world - identifies the preconditions for enabling content and infrastructure providers to make film online services a commercial success. The Charter will serve as reference for future commercial agreements as well as for a broader Content Online policy of the European Commission.
- EU - Europe's free-to-air content and advertising: not one without the other
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Conference Paris, 15 May 2006.
- EU - Television without frontiers
Education, Youth And Culture Council meeting - Brussels, 18-19 May 2006. Pending the European Parliament's first reading opinion, the Council took note of a progress report and held a debate on the proposal for a directive amending the Directive on the pursuit of television broadcasting activities. The debate covered, in particular, the following issues in relation with the proposed directive: the appropriateness and the sustainability of the distinction between linear and non-linear services; the common rules applying to both categories of services; the extent of the modernisation and simplification of the television advertising and teleshopping rules.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- EU / UK - Media and telecoms players unite against new AV Directive
A unique alliance from across the broadcasting, telecoms, technology, new media and advertising sectors is voicing its concerns about the draft Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive that is currently under discussion in Brussels. See webpage and paper.
- UK - David Levy of the BBC on the White Paper, Ofcom, and Lord Reith...
We sat down with David Levy of the BBC to get his take on the BBC Charter Review White Paper, and other issues related to the BBC and its special role in British society. On the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive, Mr Levy said "The European policy process is slow and it is hard to know what will emerge from this process. I would like something which emerges that recognises that the public policy objectives for broadcasting need to be achieved across a wide array of platforms but combines that with the lightest touch approach possible towards new media and online".
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- EU - European Broadcasting Regulators meeting
The European Commission's proposed modernisation of the "TV without Frontiers" Directive can improve the means to safeguard European TV viewers against programmes inciting hatred, subject to scrupulous respect for media freedom and for free speech. This has been discussed by Europe's broadcasting regulators at a meeting in Brussels.
Issue no. 355 - 5 February 2006
- EU - RAND Europe contribution to revision of audiovisual policy
RAND Europe informed a European Commission assessment of revising and extending the existing TV without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive to include all audiovisual services in Europe, including those distributed through the Internet. The RAND Europe report advises against precipitate action without full evidential support and recommends, as far as possible, a flexible approach based on self and joint-regulation by the industry with regulatory bodies that audit the effectiveness of such schemes. The proposed Directive has been published in draft form and will be debated by the European Parliament later this year.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- BE - La "délocalisation" de RTL-TVI au Luxembourg agite la classe politique belge
La chaîne commerciale francophone belge RTL-TVI, filiale à 66 % du groupe CLT-UFA détenu par Bertelsmann et RTL Group, a décidé d'utiliser, à partir du 1er janvier 2006, la licence d'émission qu'elle détient au Luxembourg. Elle n'a donc pas sollicité le renouvellement de celle qu'elle possédait en Belgique. Ce faisant, RTL-TVI se place, comme les chaînes néerlandaises du groupe, sous la tutelle de l'Etat luxembourgeois et se dégage de celle de la Communauté française de Belgique, l'instance politique qui réunit la Wallonie et Bruxelles. Il s'agit d'un "habillage juridique" d'une délocalisation, a accusé en décembre Evelyne Lentzen, la présidente du Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel belge (CSA) qui a ouvert une procédure d'infraction pour absence d'autorisation à l'encontre de RTL-TVI. Philippe Delusinne, son administrateur délégué, rejette catégoriquement ces accusations relayées par la classe politique wallonne.
- EU - UK alone on TWF Directive
The Foreign Policy Centre organised a seminar on the subject of the revision of the European Television Without Frontiers Directive. The keynote address was given by the DCMS Minister for Creative Industries, James Purnell. He expressed 'serious concerns' about the proposed extension of the Directive to all audio-visual material and claimed that the proposals would mean 'a significant regulation of the Internet'. Other speakers covered the definitional problem of the proposed Directive with the distinction between linear and non-linear services being at best porous and at worst unenforceable. However, it was conceded that the UK position is currently an isolated one and it was generally agreed that much more needs to be done to explain to our European partners how self-regulatory processes and practices could deliver what the Commission is seeking to achieve.
- UK - Minister opposes EU plan to regulate internet
Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, said day that a European Union plan to introduce internet regulation was unwelcome, arguing that new media were best left to govern themselves. The Minister, speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, also came close to warning Ofcom, the communications regulator, about the consequences of introducing product placement in television programmes- but changed her mind in a late redraft of her address.
- UK battles against Web TV regulation
The UK government is fighting an attempt by the European Commission to change the way television is regulated in Europe, amid fears that this could lead to the regulation of Internet content. James Purnell, the broadcasting minister, plans to lobby a number of European countries against proposed changes to the Television Without Frontiers directive.
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
- UK - TVWF will hamper competition and harm competitiveness, says hi-tech industry
Intellect and the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) have today expressed their disappointment at the EU Commission's expected decision to approve the proposed Audio Visual Content Directive. In its current form the legislation will result in increased regulatory burden for the content and new media industry with little benefit to business or consumers. The linear/ non-linear split may be a useful conceptual framework for policy makers but it doesn't reflect the nature of the new interactive, on-demand, IP-based services, such as IPTV, Video on Demand, and mobile TV under development.
Issue no. 352 - 18 December 2005
- EU - TV without Frontiers: Commission proposes modernised rules for digital era TV and TV-like services
A proposal to update the EU's 1989 "TV without Frontiers" Directive, to keep pace with rapid technological and market developments in Europe's audiovisual sector, was tabled by the European Commission. In line with the principle of better regulation, the proposal aims to reduce the regulatory burden on Europe's providers of TV and TV-like services and to give more flexibility for financing audiovisual content by new forms of advertising. The proposal will also create a level playing field for all companies that offer TV-like services, irrespective of the technology used to deliver them (e.g. broadcast, high-speed broadband, third generation mobiles). The Commission therefore proposes replacing disparate national rules on protection of minors, against incitement to racial hatred and against surreptitious advertising with a basic, EU-wide minimum standard of protection for audiovisual on demand services. the modernised TV without Frontiers Directive would govern TV and TV-like services. To open up the present EU rules to technological developments, the proposal distinguishes between "linear" services (e.g. scheduled broadcasting via traditional TV, the internet, or mobile phones, which "pushes" content to viewers), and "non-linear" ones, such as on-demand films or news, which the viewer "pulls" from a network. Today's TV broadcasting rules would apply to linear services in a modernised, more flexible form, whereas non-linear ones would be subject only to a basic set of minimum principles, e.g. to protect minors, prevent incitement to racial hatred and outlaw surreptitious advertising. The proposed modernisation of the TV without Frontiers Directive does not affect private correspondence, electronic versions of newspapers or magazines, web sites not primarily intended to provide audiovisual media content, mere audio transmissions or radio.
- Europe set to relax rules on TV product placement
The European Commission has set out its plans to update 1989's Television Without Frontiers Directive, extending the rules to all TV-like services and relaxing the rules of advertising to allow product placements. The main purpose of the shake-up is to reduce the regulatory burden on Europe's providers of TV and TV-like services and to allow them more flexibility in financing their productions. At present there are disparate national rules on the protection of minors, against incitement to racial hatred and against surreptitious advertising, and the Commission hopes to replace these with a basic, EU-wide minimum standard of protection for audiovisual on-demand services. see also Plan to ease media rules draws industry criticism (FT), EU's proposed ad rules back product placement (Guardian), EU's proposed ad rules back product placement (IHT).
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
- EU - De la télévision sans frontières à l'audiovisuel sans frontières
Discours de Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne responsable pour la société de l'information et les médias. Rencontres cinématographiques de Beaune, 22 octobre 2005
- EU - Television Without Frontiers - a UK assessment
Ofcom has published an independent report which it commissioned from Indepen, Ovum and fathom on the impact of changes to the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive proposed by the European Commission. It assesses the costs and benefits of regulating content delivered over non-broadcast platforms. It concludes that the cost of an extension could outweigh the benefits unless aspects of an extension are limited. In particular: the net benefits of extending the regulations are likely to be negative if the detailed tier of regulation is applied to linear TV services (IPTV, Internet TV and mobile TV). There may be net benefits from applying the basic tier of regulation if it is done through co- regulation.
- EU - Television Without Frontiers - an up-date
CommsWatch has had several postings on the important but controversial revision of the European Television Without Frontiers Directive. It is necessary that we all understand where we are after the Liverpool conference of 20-22 September 2005 and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) gave a helpful briefing to stakeholders on 27 October. The Department has agreed that the presentation can be posted on this blog but please note that it is Crown Copyright.
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.
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