The EU’s legislating tripartite of the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission has reached a preliminary deal on revisions to the audiovisual media services directive.
According to the Vice-President for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip, “The new rules reflect digital progress and recognise that people now watch videos in ways that are different from before. They encourage innovative services and promote European films – but also protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way.”
The directive proposed by the European Commission will set new quotas imposed on subscription video-on-demand services, such as Netflix, regardless of the platform’s origin. The rules include an obligation for Over the Top (OTT) TV services, to respect a quota of 30% for European works on their platforms, 10% more than the European Commission’s initial proposal from two years ago.
The Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden, have moved against any content quota, considering it “counterproductive”, the exact opposite of Greece, which has pushed for a 40% quota.
The final proposal that passed in the Council was drafted by the Maltese presidency and was supported by Athens, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, and Romania.
Video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) platforms will also be asked to contribute to the development of European audiovisual production, either through a direct investment in content or a contribution to national funds. The level of contribution in each country should be proportional to their on-demand revenues in that country – meaning the Member States where they are registered or where their target audience is located.
The new rules include strict regulations on advertising or product placement in children’s TV prgrammes or content available on video-on-demand platforms. The legislation will also be extended to video-sharing platforms, including YouTube and even Facebook.
Other elements of the revised directive include a strengthening of the ‘country of origin’ principle, an additional way to ensure clarity on which state’s rules apply both for broadcast and VOD services. The directive will also see new measures to ensure the independence of national audiovisual regulators, which must be independent of government and other public or private bodies.
The remaining details will be discussed by the three parties, the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission in June. Once confirmed by the Council and the European Parliament’s plenary vote, the new rules will then have to be transposed into national law.