The advent of global non-linear platforms have disrupted the traditional TV market and drive new viewing habits. To local regulators, the new issues raise questions about their capacity to maintain equal rules and incentives in favour of content creativity without preventing digital-native kids to consume contents across all platforms.
Mip’s industry spotlight “regulators: catching up to content viewing behaviours” invited members of CSA, Pact UK and SACD to recommend how to make the system fairer between broadcasters that are given quotas and global OTT’s platforms which have no obligations?
Agreeing that there is still room for national regulation, participants found that “regulation has nothing to do with innovation”.
“France is a strongly regulated country but there are more 20 existing VOD and SVOD platforms on the market” remarked Pascal Rogard, CEO of SACD that manages author’s and creators rights.
But how to make regulation efficient? “Only if it is adapted to actors and usages. Transformation is so profound that we must rethink the ways public intervention can get organized,” board member at French regulatory body CSA Nathalie Sonnac explained.
To Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, director of international strategy at PACT UK, this must be expressed on a European level. Nathalie Sonnac says the aim must be “to get a common base for all the market actors and make sure the rules are applied consistently across the European Union.”
The three participants agreed on the fact that creating ill-balanced tax systems between the Euro countries make it difficult to set up common rules. “This is devastating for the Euro culture and contents to have countries like Ireland, The Netherlands or Luxembourg, which have have lower taxes and less rules and regulations. How is it possible in that case to create value?” asked Pascal Rogard, adding “the best content has to be produced.”
New global platforms are considered as media but seen as problematic compared to the institutional European system, as they legally escape to rules and don’t fulfil the obligations of the local countries they expand to. “Regulators must harmonize the European legislation so that it can adapt to all services” Nathalie Sonnac advises.
“It’s true that viewers watch Netflix like they watch the BBC, everything is digital now” Dawn McCarthy-Simpson commented. Paradoxically, platforms are found as making diversity easier to respect as they don’t look for the same audience as traditional broadcasters.
The fact that the conference remained at a very general level show how complicated it is to have harmonized Euro regulation that would protect pluralism by seeing that OTT platforms participate in some kind to creation without avoiding fiscal issues and regulations.