EU introduces new audiovisual industry regulations

LONDON - A major overhaul of the EU's regulations for the audiovisual industry is complete, ushering in new rules for the UK's VoD sector and controls over web-only TV channels.

VoD and web-only TV: new EU regulations introduced
VoD and web-only TV: new EU regulations introduced

Over much of the past decade, the EU has been overhauling its regulations for the continent's audiovisual industry, the TV Without Frontiers Directive, which was adopted in 1989 and amended in 1997.

The new set of rules, which has now been enshrined in UK law, is called the European Union Audio Visual Media Services.

The three main areas of the AVMS Directive where measures are being implemented are: introducing a system for regulating video-on-demand services in the UK; controls over the content of non-EU satellite channels that are uplinked from a ground station in the UK; and allowing any EU broadcaster to take short extracts of another broadcaster's exclusive coverage to include in a news programme.

Under AVMS, the UK has an obligation to ensure video-on-demand services meet new cross-EU standards, with member states encouraged to adopt a co-regulatory solution. This means the system of regulation is owned and run by the video-on-demand industry, but with backup powers for the UK government to intervene if need be.

AVMS also gives the UK new responsibility for the content of the small number of non-EU satellite TV channels that legally broadcast into Europe from ground stations in Britain.

Ofcom will now be able to take appropriate action if any of these channels are found to be transmitting unacceptable content.

The directive also requires member states to ensure that any EU broadcaster is able to take short extracts of another broadcaster's exclusive coverage of an event to include in a news programme.

A further compulsory element of the AVMS directive is to prohibit product placement, which is already the case in the UK.

However, the directive allows member states to bring in certain exceptions in certain types of TV programme. DCMS is currently holding a public consultation on this issue that ends on 8 January.

Finally, under the directive, TV channels based in the UK, which broadcast solely across the internet, are now required to get a license from Ofcom.

Siôn Simon, UK Minister for Creative Industries, said: "The UK has been at the forefront of negotiations to ensure this Directive is adopted by the whole of the EU and I'm glad this work has now paid off.

"Maintaining EU-wide standards on television and video-on-demand services is not only good for audiences, but also good for broadcasters who have a common set of guidelines to work to."

 

 

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