European broadcasters slam ‘backwards’ EU directive

Europe’s commercial broadcasters have warned that proposed changes to the regulations governing content and broadcasting in the EU risk damaging growth and investment in the sector.

Several of the EU commercial broadcaster’s industry groups signed a joint declaration.

They said today that the mooted changes to the AVMS directive will not achieve the EU’s desired aim of boosting the region’s digital economy. Rather, they risk hampering broadcasters’ ability to invest and in turn could reduce audience choice, according to the broadcasters.

The group said: “When the European Commission embarked on the current review, vice president Andrus Ansip pledged to enable audiovisual companies ‘to be the powerhouses in the digital economy, not weigh them down with unnecessary rules’.

“But instead of deregulation, current proposals will increase restrictions – jeopardising investment in European content, increasing unfair competition with online players, and undermining the freedom to broadcast.”

Specifically, the broadcasters take issue with proposed changes that could introduce new restrictions on advertising and possible levies on linear and catch-up services. The group notes that these could impair the traditional broadcasters’ efforts to compete with Netflix, Amazon and online-only players that are not bound by the same rules.

The group said: “As European broadcasting associations with members across the EU, we urge politicians and policy makers to ensure our sector’s competitive strength in the long term by delivering on the original stated aim of this review ‘to create a fairer environment for all players’”.

Industry groups backing today’s statement included the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), Italy’s About Confindustria Radio Televisioni (CRTV) and the European association of Television and Radio Sales houses (egta).

Read Next