The European Parliament Culture and Education Committee adopted today its report on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). DIGITALEUROPE remains very concerned by several aspects of the proposal.
“The viewer needs to be in the driving seat if the market is going to develop fully,” said DIGITALEUROPE Director General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl. “We not only need to respond effectively to current shifts in media consumption, but the approach must also be future-proof.”
“Promoting European content with 30% quotas for VOD catalogues risks being counterproductive,” continued Ms Bonefeld Dahl. “It is not an effective way of protecting local content providers. It would not just restrict choice for consumers, but would reduce the sustainability of existing and new business models.”
Strong concerns for DIGITALEUROPE are also the introduction of levies for the financing of content, which strongly undermines the country-of-origin principle and goes against the purposes and vision of the Digital Single Market, as well as the possibility for Member States to impose obligations to ensure what they consider the ‘appropriate prominence’ of audiovisual services of general interest. Whereas discoverability of content is a legitimate aim of media regulation, the prioritisation of certain content inevitably leads to discrimination of others. Device manufacturers and digital service providers compete by offering access to as many applications and as much content as possible. “It is as much in their interest to ensure that search tools are user-friendly and efficient as it is for the consumer. There is no need to force pre-eminence of selected content offers and search results through legislation”, Ms Bonefeld Dahl added.
Similarly, the ‘integrity of programmes and services’ is not put at risk by displaying basic device functionalities such as the volume bar, ’picture in picture functions’, or an Electronic Programme Guide. The consumer has been able to decide which services can appear on the screen. There is no reason why this should change. Restricting the freedom of the consumer on how to use audiovisual content on the devices they own is a fundamental misconception in the era of digital and connected media.
DIGITALEUROPE looks forward to keeping working with EU institutions to bring about a balanced update of rules that will allow consumers and businesses to evolve in a vibrant audiovisual environment.