Update of AVMSD: Role of National Regulators Contentious Issue

NEWS | 16 December 2016

During the autumn the new rules for audiovisual media services proposed in May by the EU Commission were debated in the Council and the European Parliament’s Culture Committee. The role of national regulators, advertising rules and the new “quotas” for European works in on-demand services seem to be tricky issues. This is reported in the latest issue of Nordicom's European Media Policy newsletter.

At the Culture Committee’s meeting in September the co-rapporteurs Sabine Verhyen and Petra Kammerevert presented their draft amendments to the text. They propose, i.al., that providers of on-demand services (like Netflix) should ensure that their catalogue contain a minimum 30% share of European work (i.e. more than the 20% proposed by the Commission).

As for the rules on advertising they agree more flexibility is needed but suggest that stricter limits should apply between 8 and 11 p.m.with a limit of 20% of advertising during that period.

The Parliament’s rapporteurs do not seem keen on the Commission’s proposal to give the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) a bigger role. They insist that ERGA remain a consultative body without decision-making power and that more competences should be given to the a Contact Committee consisting of representatives of national governments and four MEPs.

This worries the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). ‘‘We are very surprised to see several amendments attempting to weaken the provision to guarantee the independence of national regulatory authorities’’, said Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General Secretary.

The EFJ’s concerns were echoed by some of the MEPs and representatives of the European Commission attending a hearing in the Culture Committee.

Member States, too, have different views on the role of ERGA. The update of the audiovisual directive (AVMS) was discussed by EU Culture Ministers when they met in November. At this stage divergences remain on some issues, for example on ERGA’s role.

Views also differ on the extension of the directive's scope to video-sharing platforms and the extent of their regulation, quantitative rules on TV advertising and obligations for on-demand service providers to promote European works.

The vote in the Parlament’s Culture Committee is scheduled for the end of January 2017. The Council expects to reach a general approach during the first half of the year.


Read the newsletter: European Media Policy 3-2016 (PDF)
Previous issues are available for download here


BY: ANNA CELSING (editor European Media Policy)


More reading:
EU proposes new rules for TV and online services [22 June, 2016]
Defining on-demand services under the scope of the AVMSD [22 June, 2016]