Advanced Television

EU to set 30% quota for SVoD

April 27, 2018

By Colin Mann

A political agreement on the main elements of revised rules to apply to audiovisual media across Europe has been reached between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission that will likely see SVoD platforms such as Amazon and Netflix face a 30 per cent ‘made in Europe’ quota.

The negotiations will officially conclude in June 2018 when the three bodies will meet to finalise and discuss the last remaining technical details of the proposal. After formal confirmation by the Council and the European Parliament’s plenary vote, the new rules will have to be transposed into national law.

The Commission says the agreement paves the way for a fairer regulatory environment for the entire audiovisual sector, including on-demand services and video sharing platforms. The new rules strengthen the protection of minors and reinforce the battle against hate speech in all audiovisual content. They promote European audiovisual productions and guarantee the independence of audiovisual regulators.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the Commission proposed a revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive in May 2016 that included a new approach to online platforms disseminating audiovisual content.

According to Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, the new rules reflect digital progress and recognise that people now watch videos in different ways than before.

“A fairer environment for all players in audiovisual sector is much needed,” stated Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel. “Moreover, our cultural sector will have a more prominent place in on-demand catalogues – a significant and positive change for European creators and authors.”

The revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive will include:

  • 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 that prohibit 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.

“With this negotiation result with the Member States, we have now finally established a fair, level playing field by adapting some important rules to Internet media services which were formerly only applicable to traditional television,” declared Sabine Verheyen MEP, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the reform of the EU legislation on Audiovisual Media Services.

According to Verheyen, the result is also great news for the European film sector and European cultural diversity, suggesting that the 30 per cent European production requirement will give a boost to European creativity in the audiovisual sector.

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