The Audiovisual Media Services Directive: state of play

11-11-2015

The EU's audiovisual sector comprises over 100 000 companies and employs more than 760 000 people. Audiovisual media services however outrun market considerations by playing a central role in modern democratic societies, which accounts for the application of specific rules across the European Union (EU). Current transmission capacities have come a long way from the first linear broadcasts. The Internet, together with media convergence, is changing the way people use media. Although television is still the most popular medium in the EU and globally, internet comes close behind. This shift in media consumption holds both promises and challenges. The advent of internet-enabled TV faces regulators with complex dilemmas, such as protecting young people from harmful content and banning incitement to hatred, while still ensuring freedom of speech. The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive covers all services with audiovisual content, including 'on-demand', and audiovisual advertising. However, it takes into account the degree of user control over the service and therefore on-demand services are subject to lighter regulation. Member States are encouraged to use co-regulation and/or self-regulation as complementary approaches to the Directive's provisions, in particular in relation to commercial communications and the protection of minors. The Commission's 2012 report on the implementation of the AVMS Directive concluded that in general, the EU regulatory framework performed well. The Commission is currently processing the results from a public consultation on the functioning of the Directive and is expected to present a proposal for a review by the end of 2015.

The EU's audiovisual sector comprises over 100 000 companies and employs more than 760 000 people. Audiovisual media services however outrun market considerations by playing a central role in modern democratic societies, which accounts for the application of specific rules across the European Union (EU). Current transmission capacities have come a long way from the first linear broadcasts. The Internet, together with media convergence, is changing the way people use media. Although television is still the most popular medium in the EU and globally, internet comes close behind. This shift in media consumption holds both promises and challenges. The advent of internet-enabled TV faces regulators with complex dilemmas, such as protecting young people from harmful content and banning incitement to hatred, while still ensuring freedom of speech. The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive covers all services with audiovisual content, including 'on-demand', and audiovisual advertising. However, it takes into account the degree of user control over the service and therefore on-demand services are subject to lighter regulation. Member States are encouraged to use co-regulation and/or self-regulation as complementary approaches to the Directive's provisions, in particular in relation to commercial communications and the protection of minors. The Commission's 2012 report on the implementation of the AVMS Directive concluded that in general, the EU regulatory framework performed well. The Commission is currently processing the results from a public consultation on the functioning of the Directive and is expected to present a proposal for a review by the end of 2015.