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Info Centre:: A to Z

The A to Z of Audiovisual and Media Policy

Note that an Index of the European Commission provides you with general information, while this A to Z covers information specific to audiovisual policy.

Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged, except where stated otherwise.

Disclaimer
The Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology maintains this website to enhance public access to information about its policies in general. Our goal is to keep this information timely and accurate. However, the Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the information on this site. This information is not professional or legal advice (if you need specific advice, you should always consult a suitably qualified professional).


The A to Z

abc

 

Last Update: March 2010

 

A

ACP Countries - African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries

Ties with the ACP countries, governed since 1975 by the regularly adapted and updated Lomé Convention are a particularly important aspect of the EU's development cooperation policy and, more widely, of its external action. The Cotonou Agreement (successor of Lomé IV), signed in 2000 sets out the framework for trade relations and development cooperation with the ACP countries. This framework also contains a cultural and audiovisual dimension. In this context, the development of ACP’s cultural industries and the promotion of exchanges in cultural and audiovisual services is a necessary component of the EU’s cultural diversity and sustainable development objectives.

... More information > External Policy - ACP Countries list

Advertising

... see Television advertising

API - Application programme interface

API means the software interfaces between applications, made available by broadcasters or service providers, and the resources in the enhanced digital television equipment for digital television and radio services. The API – also known as middleware – is the underlying technical facility for features such as the Electronic Programme Guide, hard disk Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and any interactive television service, whether enhanced broadcasting carousel-based services derived from teletext or fully interactive services using a return-channel.  APIs can be grouped into two types, those which are more intensively computational, based on an execution engine and those which are declarative, based on presentation engines.

The following regulatory requirements exist in EU law: Article 18 of the Framework Directive (Telecom Package). To date the following APIs have been standardised by a European body, MHEG 5 and the Multimedia Home Platform  (MHP). Others are Open TV, Liberate.

... More information > Today's Framework - Tomorrow’s Framework
... Document > Common regulatory framework for electronic communications
                        networks and services

... External websites > Multimedia Home Platform (MHP)

  Audiovisual Commercial Communication

The AVMS Directive introduces the notion of audiovisual commercial communications, applying to all audiovisual media services and thus including  television advertising.

The Directive provides for some obligations which apply to all audiovisual commercial communications and specific rules for television advertising.

The Commission published on 24th April 2004 an interpretative communication to clarify some specific television advertising problems such as e.g. New Advertising Techniques.  The communication remains applicable with regard to provisions which remain in force.

For "unhealthy" food and beverages in (or accompanying) children's programmes, the Directive provides that the Commission and Member States encourage the drafting of codes of conduct.

... More information > Codes of conduct
                                   
Audiovisual Commercial Communications
... Document
> Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

 

Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive covers all EU audiovisual media services (including on-demand services) in the digital age. It amends and renames the Television without Frontiers Directive, providing less detailed but more flexible regulation.  The AVMS Directive entered into force on 19 December 2007 and had to be transposed by Member States by the end of 2009. 

See AVMSD website.

... More information > Regulatory Framework > AVMSD
... Documents
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Audiovisual Policy

See Audiovisual and Media Policies Website

... More information > Regulatory Framework > AVMSD > History
                                    Audiovisual and Media Policies > Library

... DocumentsDirective 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Autonomous parts of a programme

The new Audiovisual Media Services Directive does not refer to the concept of autonomous parts of the programme any more: Television advertising may be inserted between as well as during programmes subject to the condition that the integrity of the programme is not prejudiced (Article 20 (2) AVMS Directive).

... More information > Television advertising and teleshopping
... Documents>  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

AVMSD

See Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)

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B

Barcelona Process

See Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

Broadband

Broadband means a high-speed fixed or mobile connection which allows the fast transmission of large amounts of data.

Narrow band is sufficient to send e-mails and download small documents but cannot handle large audio or video files or services. Depending on different implementations, Broadband enables voice and data services to be carried simultaneously as well as IPTV. Broadband Internet access can be supplied in particular over Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) telephone lines, over cable television networks using the DOCSIS modem standard, over G3 networks, via satellite and in future over terrestrial wireless systems. It provides important new options in terms of services delivered: distance education (using e-learning), access to government services (e-government), healthcare (e-health), entertainment, videoconferencing, e-commerce, etc.

... More information > - Broadband on Information Society Portal
                                    - Broadband and digital divide
                                    - Broadband performance index

Broadband Policy

Meeting the target of developing broadband policies is a complex task - broadband availability is affected by many different policies (town and country planning, research policy, taxation, regulation), implemented by administrations ranging from international organisations through to local administrations, as well as the private sector.

... More information > - i2010 on Europe's Information Society Portal -
... Document > i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and
                        employment

Broadcasting Services

EU law before the AVMS Directive only knew ‘broadcasting services’ and ‘information society services’. Any audiovisual service transmitted to the public – as free-to-air programme or a Pay-TV programme, encrypted or unencrypted – was defined as a broadcasting service, whereas communication services on individual demand (provided for remuneration, at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services) were regarded as Information society services

The new AVMS Directive now covers both: television broadcasting services and such on-demand services which are "audiovisual media services". This means (for both) that they are under the editorial responsibility of a media service provider and their principal purpose is the provision of programmes in order to inform, entertain or educate, to the general public by electronic communications networks. There is a common set of basic obligations, but regulation for television broadcasting is more detailed and stricter than for on-demand audiovisual media services, in particular as concerns the insertion and duration of advertising, but also the protection of minors (principle of graduated regulation). This is justified by the increased control and choice of consumer in using on-demand services.

... More information > Regulatory Framework > AVMSD
... Documents >
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
 

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C

Cable and Satellite Directive (CABSAT)

...See Freedom to receive information by satellite dish

Cinema Heritage

Cinema Heritage means the cinema and moving images from the past hundred years, which are an important part of European history and society. The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU lays down in Article 167 ‘that action by the Union shall be aimed at encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, supporting and supplementing their action in the […] areas (of) conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European significance.’ The Council of the European Union adopted a Resolution on conservation and enhancement of European cinema heritage in May 2000. In this Resolution the Council called on the Commission to take account of the specific needs of this particular form of cultural heritage, and to support and encourage a transnational study on the situation as regards European cinema archives. The Commission has hosted meetings on this subject to bring together the relevant parties to discuss the issue. In 2004 a Communication on the follow-up to the Commissions communication on certain legal aspects relating to cinematographic and other audiovisual works has been published together with a proposal for a recommendation on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities.

At the end of 2005, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Recommendation to Member States on Film Heritage. This Recommendation highlights that the European film heritage has to be methodically collected, catalogued, preserved and restored, in order to ensure that it is passed down to future generations.

The Commission takes also concrete actions in favour of protecting film heritage, such as facilitating and supporting the work of experts from all film archives in Europe. In working groups chaired by the Commission, experts exchange best practices and find common solutions to their problems. The Commission also promotes European standardization to facilitate the interoperability of film databases and film catalogue in Europe.

... See also: Cinematographic and other audiovisual works and
                    Deposit of audiovisual works
... More information > Cinema
... Document > Recommendation on film heritage and competitiveness

Cinematographic and other audiovisual works

Audiovisual works in general means moving image material of any length, e.g. fiction, cartoons and documentaries. Cinematographic works are audiovisual works intended to be shown in cinemas. Audiovisual works have unique characteristics because of their double nature. They are economic goods, offering important opportunities for the creation of wealth and employment. They are also cultural goods which at the same time mirror and shape our societies. These works still suffer from numerous handicaps that hinder their circulation and have to face strong competition from outside Europe. The Commission has therefore started to examine in detail a number of issues to clarify the legal framework of the cinema sector, including the application of Policy on State aid for cinema and TV productions. The Commission adopted a communication on certain legal aspects relating to cinematographic and other audiovisual works in 2001. In 2004 a Communication on the follow-up to the Commissions communication on certain legal aspects relating to cinematographic and other audiovisual works has been published together with a proposal for a recommendation on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities. The validity of the criteria for the Commission policy on state aid to cinema set out in this communication has since been extended and is set to expire on 31 December 2012.

... See also: Deposit of audiovisual works
... More information > Cinema
... Document > Recommendation on film heritage and competitiveness

 Circumvention procedure

see Cooperation and circumvention procedure

Clock hour

The concept of clock hour used in Article 23 of AVMSD can be understood as referring either to a natural clock hour, or to an overlapping clock hour.

... More information > Regulatory Framework > AVMSD
... Documents > interpretative communication  on televised advertising

Codes of conduct against advertising for "unhealthy" food and beverages in children's programmes

Art 9(2) AVMSD obliges Member States and the Commission to encourage media service providers to develop codes of conduct regarding advertising for 'unhealthy' food and beverages in children's programmes.

... More information > Codes of conduct

... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Commercial Communication

see audiovisual commercial communication

Community Media

Community media are media that are non-profit and accountable to the community that they seek to serve. They are open to participation in the creation of content by members of the community. The community media are editorially independent of government, commercial and religious institutions and political parties. They are a distinct group within the media sector alongside commercial and public media. One of the key characteristics of community media is their ability to deliver social gain. They provide an access to media for minority and marginalized groups and promote and protect cultural diversity, including linguistic one.

... Document > 2008 European Parliament report on Community Media in Europe

Competition and media

Competition plays an important role in the media sector. First of all, antitrust law aims at eliminating agreements which restrict competition (e.g. price-fixing agreements or cartels between competitors), and the abuse of a dominant position on the market. Such agreements and practices reduce the quality and diversity of content. Secondly, merger control ensures that no excessive concentrations are created which could be detrimental to effective competition, thus ensuring cultural diversity while at the same time taking into account the need to have European media companies of a sufficient size to compete at a global level. In practice, horizontal and vertical concentration in the media industry, particularly in the pay TV sector, and the consolidation of satellite platforms, led the Commission to examine a number of complex and high profile cases. Thirdly, the application of State Aid rules focuses on the effects on competition of aid granted by Member States and ensures that such measures do not distort competition in the Common Market. In this respect, the European Commission has taken initiatives in the field of public service broadcasting and cinema (State aid to cinema and TV productions).

... More information > - Cinema
                                    - Public Service Broadcasting
                                    - EC Competition Portal
... Documents > - Communication on State aid rules for cinema
                           - Communication on State aid rules to public service broadcasting  (2009)

Conditional Access

Conditional access means any technical measure and/or arrangement whereby access to the protected service - such as Pay-TV - is made conditional upon prior individual authorization. Directive 98/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 1998 on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access aims to provide a minimum level of equivalent protection within the EU of electronic pay-services against piracy. The Directive prohibits all commercial manufacturing, distribution and marketing activities related to pirate smart cards and other devices that could circumvent the access protection of protected broadcasting services, such as pay-TV, radio and internet services. In addition, Articles 5 and 6 of the Access Directive (Telecom Package) offer National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) different options for regulating the provision of conditional access services to broadcasters.

... More information > Today's Framework - Tomorrow’s Framework
... Document > "Access" Directive

Connected TV

In a narrow sense Connected TV refers to TV sets that can be connected to the Internet, In a broader sense the term refers to the emergence of a range of technical solutions that bring linear TV and the Internet world closer together, e.g. TV sets with added internet connectivity, set-top boxes delivering audiovisual content 'over-the-top', audiovisual services provided via tablet computers or smartphones.

... More information > Connected TV on Digital Agenda for Europe

Contact Committee

To facilitate effective implementation of the AVMSD, the so-called Contact Committee has been set up to allow regular consultation on any practical problems arising from the application of the Directive (article 29 AVMSD). This committee, chaired by the Commission, is composed of representatives of the competent authorities of the Member States and deals not only with the existing audiovisual policy but also with the relevant developments arising in this sector.

... More information > Contact Committee
... Documents >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Content Online

With the "Communication on Creative Content Online in the Single Market" of 3 January 2008, the Commission launched a new initiative to promote creative content online.

... More information >  Content Online
... Documents > Communication on Creative Content Online in the Single Market

Convergence

Convergence is the result of digital technologies whereby information (voice, text, audio and video) can be converted into digital form and transmitted through different networks and accessed from different end-user terminals. The result is a convergence of services of ICT, media and telecommunications industries. Examples include the convergence of broadcasting and telecommunication and the convergence of television and personal computers. The latter example means that consumers can watch television via the computer or have internet-access via television.

Convergence also calls for a new level playing field among audiovisual content service providers, creating conditions for a fair competition between different audiovisual services, which is being introduced by the new AVMS Directive. Like this Directive modern EU rules should be market-oriented, flexible, and neutral as between delivery platforms, and enable content service providers to compete on an equal footing, ensure regulatory consistency and strengthen legal certainty based on the country of origin-principle.

... See also: i2010 initiative
... More information > i2010 website
... Documents >  i2010 Communication 

Cooperation and circumvention procedure

Article 4(2)–(5) of the AVMSD provides for a mechanism between Member States in case one audiovisual media service provider is under the jurisdiction (e.g. by origin) of one Member State, but directs its broadcast wholly or mostly towards another Member State and in case the latter claims that the audiovisual media service provider violates its national law. As a first step, there is foreseen a consultation procedure between the two Member States. This may lead to a non-binding request to a broadcaster to comply with a rule of general interest of the latter Member State. Subsequently, a different procedure on the basis of ECJ case law (specifically on circumvention) allows targeted Member States, under the ex-ante control of the Commission, to take binding measures against service providers that circumvent national rules.

... See also: Jurisdiction
... More information >AVMSD website

Copenhagen criteria

The Copenhagen criteria are the political conditions a candidate country must fulfil in order to join the Union. They must be a stable democracy, respecting human rights, the rule of law, and the protection of minorities; have a functioning market economy and adopt the common rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law. The democratic functioning of the media as well as the stability and transparency of the regulatory environment in the audiovisual sector are important elements to be considered when assessing the Copenhagen criteria.

... More information > EU Enlargement

  Co-production

In order to encourage the distribution and production of European television programmes, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) contains provisions for the promotion of distribution and production of European works: Member States must ensure where practicable that broadcasters reserve for European works a majority proportion of their transmission time. The notion of European works is spelled out in Article Article 1(n) of the AVMSD.   European works are not only works which are produced in a European country - either the Member State or a state party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe. The notion of European works includes also works produced within the framework of bilateral co-production treaties concluded between Member States and third countries if the Union co-producers supply a majority share of the production cost and control the production. Moreover, the AVMS Directive treats as European works co-productions with third countries produced within the framework of agreements related to the audiovisual sector concluded between the EU and third countries and fulfilling the conditions defined in such agreements.

... More information > European works
... Documents >
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Copyright

Copyright means the right for individuals to make the product of their creative effort their property under the law. That normally includes the right to decide who can reproduce, communicate or distribute the product and it includes also remuneration for the right holder. Copyright legislation and values in Europe date back more than 200 years. They have notably their origin in cultural and human rights traditions, as they represent the fundamental right for individuals who create intellectual and artistic works. Copyright and neighbouring rights constitute the currency of the audiovisual sector, i.e. the protective elements of the products and services (CDs, DVD films, CD-ROMs…). The Copyright Directive includes the reproduction rights, the right of communication and distribution rights.

... More information > Copyright and Neighbouring Rights
... Document > Directive 2001/29/EC

Co-regulation 

According to the Inter Institutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking (O.J. No. C 321, 31 December 2003, p.1.) co-regulation means the mechanism whereby a legislative act entrusts the attainment of the objectives defined by the legislative authority to parties which are recognised in the field (such as economic operators, the social partners, non-governmental organisations, or associations).

The Commission study of co-regulatory models in the media sector provides an overview of co-regulatory measures in Member States. The study analysed in which sectors these measures mainly apply, their effect and their consistency with public interest objectives. The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) includes the provision that Member States shall encourage co- and/ or self-regulatory regimes in the fields coordinated by this Directive. These regimes shall be such that they are broadly accepted by the main stakeholders and provide for effective enforcement.

... More information > Study on Co-regulation measures in the Media sector
... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Interinstitutional agreement on better law-making

Council of Europe (CoE)

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 as an intergovernmental organization. 47 countries are already its members. ‘The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members’ (Article 1 Statute of the Council of Europe). Based on the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, nearly 200 European Conventions have been adopted by the Council of Europe on topics ranging from human rights to the fight against organized crime and from the prevention of torture to data protection or cultural co-operation. The key legal instruments for the audiovisual sector of the Council of Europe are the European Convention on Transfrontier Television and the European Convention on Audiovisual Heritage.

... More information > External relations - Multilateral - CoE
... Documents > - European Convention on Transfrontier Television -
                         - European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual
                           Heritage
... External websites > Council of Europe (CoE) - CoE Media Division -
                                     European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production

 Creative Content online see Content online

Cultural diversity

The Treaty provides that ‘The Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore.’ (Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Preservation and promotion of cultural diversity are among the founding principles of the European model. They are enshrined in the Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Cultural diversity has become one of the major issues of the international debate taking place among international and regional organizations. The General Conference of UNESCO adopted a Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on 20 October 2005. This UNESCO Convention aims to fill a legal vacuum in world governance by establishing a series of rights and obligations, at both national and international levels, with a view to the protection and promotion of cultural diversity. This instrument should play a similar role for cultural diversity — at the same normative level — as World International Property Organisation conventions, World Trade Organisation agreements, World Health Organisation agreements and Multilateral Environment Agreements. The Union ratified the Convention on 18 of December 2006 and the Convention entered into force on 18 of March 2007.

... More information > Unesco - European Culture Portal
... Document > Unesco Convention
... External websites > UNESCO Culture Portal

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D

Data Compression

Reducing the physical size of a given amount of data; loss-less compression schemes such as ZIP allow the data to be decompressed to its original form without any information loss. It can be thought of as simply compacting data by removing redundant sequences. Lossy compression schemes such as JPEG reduce data size by removing parts of the information set that are not vital for proper image viewing. Generally, the quality of picture from lossy schemes deteriorates as the level of compression increases. Most video codecs use lossy data compression, including DivX, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WM9/VC9, MPEG 4 AVC/H.264.

The conversion of analogue signals to digital signals that may or not be of similar quality requires less bandwidth for transmission. This allows for the same slice of radio frequency spectrum to carry more television channels in digital format than in analogue format.

Deposit of audiovisual works

Deposit means that a copy of audiovisual works has to be lodged in a national archive or any institution designated by a party for that purpose. This instrument could be implemented on a compulsory or a voluntary basis. The aim is to preserve and to safeguard Europe’s audiovisual heritage in an effective way and promote cultural diversity. The European Convention for the protection of the Audiovisual Heritage of the Council of Europe has been opened for signature. This Convention provides a compulsory legal deposit of “moving image material forming part of its [i.e. the Party's] audiovisual heritage and having been produced or co-produced in the territory of the Party concerned. At the end of 2005, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Recommendation to Member States on Film Heritage. This Recommendation proposes that Member States adopt, by 16 November 2007, legislative, administrative or other appropriate measures to ensure that cinematographic works forming part of their audiovisual heritage are systematically collected, catalogued, preserved, restored and made accessible for educational, cultural, research or other non-commercial uses of a similar nature, in all cases in compliance with copyright and related rights.

... More information > cinema
... Document > - Recommendation on film heritage and competitiveness
                        -  European Convention on Transfrontier Television
                        European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual
                           Heritage

Derogation from the obligation to ensure freedom of reception

The TVwF Directive established the principle that Member States must ensure freedom of reception and must not restrict retransmission on their territory of television programmes from other Member States. They may, however, suspend retransmission of television programmes if they consider that TV programmes broadcast from another Member State manifestly, seriously and gravely infringe the rules regarding the Protection of minors, Public order or the Incitement to hatred

According to the AVMSD, a Member State can restrict the retransmission of on-demand audiovisual media services under less stricter conditions. The reasons listed in Article 3(4)-(6) are identical to those established by the E-Commerce Directive. This would for example allow Member States to take measures against certain forms of Nazi propaganda that are not banned in all Member States.

See also: cooperation and circumvention procedure and Jurisdiction

... More information > AVMSD website
... Documents > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Digital libraries Initiative

The digital libraries initiative aims at making European information resources easier and more interesting to use in an online environment. It builds on Europe’s rich heritage combining multicultural and multilingual environments with technological advances and new business models.

Digital libraries are organised collections of digital content made available to the public. They can consist of material that has been digitised, such as digital copies of books and other ‘physical’ material from libraries and archives. Alternatively, they can be based on information originally produced in digital format. This is increasingly the case in the area of scientific information, where digital publications and enormous quantities of information are stored in digital repositories. Both aspects - digitised and born digital material - are covered by this initiative.

The Commission launched this initiative adopted in September 2005, with its Communication 'i2010: Digital Libraries', focusing on cultural heritage. On 14 February 2007, the Commission also adopted a Communication on access to scientific information in the digital age. It deals with two key issues of how to improve access to scientific information (both publications and data) in the digital age and how to keep digital scientific information accessible and usable for future generations.

On 24 August 2006, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, aimed at improving the framework conditions for digital libraries in Member States.

The Digital Libraries initiative supports the development of Europeana - the European digital library -, based on a collaboration between Europe's cultural institutions.

... More information > - Digital libraries initiative
... Document > - i2010 : digital libraries Communication

                        - Communication on access to scientific information in the
                           digital age
                         - Recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility
                           of cultural material and digital preservation

... External website> - Europeana

Digital Rights Management

The Internet and personal computers have dramatically changed the way digital media content, such as music, films, and books, are produced, distributed and consumed. One important problem to be solved is the protection of the right-owner. Secure systems are needed that protect digital content from illegal use, while still enabling consumers to enjoy works in a flexible way. DRM systems work by identifying digital content that contains intellectual property. They enable right holders to enforce their rights in the digital environment and allow the management of rights and payments in a wide sense. Therefore they go beyond pure copy protection systems which are usually known as "technological protection measures" (TPMs). Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society also contains rules on technological measures. Member States must accordingly provide adequate legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological measures.

... More information > Content Online
                                    Copyright on Internal Market Portal
... Document > Directive 2001/29/EC

Digital Television

Digital television broadcasting technology brings significant improvement in terms of transmission capacity (number of channels and services), picture quality and information management. The Commission published a Communication on accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting (COM(2005)204). This Communication proposes a deadline of 2012 for switch-off of analogue terrestrial TV broadcasting throughout the EU. The deadline has been endorsed by the Council and the Parliament as a target, but as a non-binding target.

See also DVB Transmission Systems

... More information > Digital broadcasting on INFSO Portal
... Document > > Communication on accelerating the transition form analogue
                            to digital broadcasting

Digital Transmission

Digital transmission means that the original source is converted into and transmitted as a series of digits in binary code (i.e. 0s or 1s). The string of binary digits can be compressed (Data compression) and then re-expanded on arrival, thus economising on transmission capacity. For example, whereas cable TV networks can usually only deliver some 30 to 40 channels using analogue transmission technology, digital cable networks can offer not only hundreds of TV channels but also interactive services, voice telephony and fast Internet access. There is a trade-off to be made between the number of channels and the quality level desired.

  Disability – Access of people with a visual or hearing disability

The AVMSD (Article 7) intends to promote the access of people with a visual or hearing disability to audiovisual media services. Member States shall encourage media service providers under their jurisdiction to ensure that their services are gradually made accessible to people with a visual or hearing disability. Some of the means envisaged to this end are subtitling and audio description.

... More information > AVMSD website

DivX

A video codec that provides close to DVD quality video at one tenth of the storage space. Newer versions of this codec are MPEG 4 compliant.

Domestic broadcasters

Member States remain free to lay down more detailed or stricter rules for television broadcasters under their Jurisdiction (e.g. rules concerning the achievement of language policy goals, protection of the public interest, the need to safeguard pluralism and the protection of competition) as long as these rules comply with EU law and in particular are not applicable to the retransmission of broadcasts originating in other Member States.

... More information > AVMSD website
                                   
AVMSD General principles
... Documents >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

DVB Transmission systems

Digital TV can be transmitted over the air (terrestrial), by cable or by satellite. DVB-T is a standard developed by the DVB group for the terrestrial transmission of digital television broadcasting (Digital TV). Others in the family are DVB-C for cable and DVB-S1 and DVB-S2 for satellite. DVB-H (handheld) is the most recent DVB specification, a terrestrial system intended for handheld devices. These systems are all ETSI standards.

... External websites > - DVB 
                                     - European Telecommunications Standards Institute

 

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E

E-commerce

E-commerce means any business or service normally provided for remuneration at a distance by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services. These activities can consist for example of selling goods online, offering online information or commercial communications, providing tools allowing for search, access and retrieval of data or services which are transmitted point to point.

... More information > Electronic commerce on Internal Market Portal
... Document > Directive on electronic commerce

E-Commerce Directive

The E-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC) ensures that e-commerce benefits from the Internal Market principles and can be provided throughout the European Union if such services comply with the law in their Member State of establishment. The Directive establishes specific harmonized rules in those areas necessary to ensure that businesses and citizens can supply and receive Information society services throughout the EU. These include the definition of where operators are established, transparency obligations for operators, transparency requirements for commercial communications, rules on the conclusion and validity of electronic contracts, liability of Internet intermediaries, on-line dispute settlement and the role of national authorities.

... Document > Directive on electronic commerce

Electronic Communications Package

... See Telecom Package

Enlargement

After successfully growing from 6 to 27 members, the European Union is now preparing for the next enlargement.

Croatia and Turkey are candidate countries. They started accession negotiations on 3 October 2005. In December 2005, the European Council granted the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the status of a candidate country; accession negotiations have not started.

... More information > Enlargement and Audiovisual policy
                                    EU Enlargement on EUROPA

       

EPA (Economic Partnership Agreements)

EPA are trade and cooperation agreements being negotiated between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and meant to overhaul the previous trade relations between them, which had been primarily based on non-reciprocal trade preferences granted by the Union to ACP countries. They are being negotiated with ACP regions engaged in a regional economic integration process. They are thus intended to consolidate regional integration initiatives within the ACP and to foster the gradual integration of the ACP into the global economy on the basis of a transparent and predictable WTO-compatible framework for goods and services. In this context cultural goods and services (including the audiovisual sector) are addressed in a specific cooperation framework or Cultural Cooperation Protocol.

The EPA Cultural Protocol represents a tool for the EU to implement the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity and in particular the obligation requiring the Parties to the Convention to take the cultural diversity. In the audiovisual area, this Protocol provides the framework for implementing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in relation to the preferential treatment for market access (through the European works promotion requirements) granted to audiovisual co-productions between European and third countries producers realised in the context of Union agreements, representing thereby a further incentive for cooperation initiatives in this regard. The first full regional EPA, which includes such a Cultural Protocol, was initialled with the Caribbean region at the end of 2007.

EPG - Electronic Programme Guide

EPG is an on-screen display of channels and programme data, which helps viewers navigate through the many channels available in digital television. EPGs are especially useful on cable and satellite services that offer a large number of channels. Questions have arisen with regard to the prominence or the visibility of certain broadcast contents on EPGs and with regard to access to EPGs. The electronic Communication package offers National Regulatory Authorities the possibility to impose fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access rules or Significant Market Power remedies to associated facilities for digital television, including EPGs (Article 6 Access Directive Telecom Package). Pay TV services generally provide the possibility for users to store their own list of favourite services in the memory of the decoder so that users don't have to consult the full EPG every time they select a service to watch.

... More information > Today's Framework -  Tomorrow’s Framework
... Document > Access Directive

EPRA – European Platform for Regulatory Authorities

Set up in April 1995 in Malta, the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities aims at providing a forum:

Up to now, 52 regulatory authorities from 44 countries in Europe have become members of the EPRA. The European Commission, the European Audiovisual Observatory and the Council of Europe are standing observers.

... External website > EPRA - European Platform of Regulatory Authorities

ETSI


The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies.
 

Euro-Mediterranean partnership

After 20 years of increasingly intensive bilateral trade and development cooperation between the European Union, the Member States and its 10 Mediterranean Partners (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia; Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. Libya currently has observer status at certain meetings), the Conference of EU and Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Barcelona (27-28 November 1995) marked the start of a new "partnership" phase of the relationship including bilateral and multilateral or regional cooperation (hence called Barcelona Process or, in general, Euro-Mediterranean Partnership).

This Barcelona Declaration launched the EuroMed Partnership on three separate chapters, the third one being Culture. This chapter complements the economic and political aspects of the partnership and breathes life into it, with a special emphasis made on civil society. The participants have recognised that the traditions of culture and civilisation throughout the Mediterranean region, dialogue between these cultures and exchanges at human, scientific and technological level are an essential factor in bringing their peoples closer, promoting understanding between them and improving their perception of each other. The main regional activities in the area of culture and audiovisual are Euromed Heritage and Euromed Audiovisual.

... More information > - External Policy
                                    - EC External Relations Portal

European Audiovisual Observatory

The European Audiovisual Observatory is a non-profit public service organization within the legal framework of the Council of Europe. The European Union in 1999 decided to become a member of the EAO. The Observatory's work is dedicated to the systematic collection, preparation and distribution of relevant information on the audiovisual sector in Europe. Its core competencies are related to market information (statistical and qualitative analysis), legal information (law and case law), financing (films and television programmes) and information mapping (who informs about what).

... External website > European Audiovisual Observatory

European Convention for the protection of the audiovisual heritage

The Convention is part of the Council of Europe's work on cultural co-operation, of which promoting European cinema has always been an important concern. Central to the Convention is the principle of compulsory deposit of all audiovisual material produced or co-produced and made available to the public in each signatory state (Deposit of audiovisual works). Deposit involves a requirement not just to deposit a reference copy with an officially designated archive but also to look after the material and do the necessary conservation work. In addition the material has to be available for consultation for academic or research purposes, subject to the international or national rules on copyright. The Convention has entered into force on 1 January 2008. The EU Recommendation of 16 November 2005 on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities follows the same objectives.

... Document >  - European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual
                            Heritage

                          - EU Recommendation on film heritage and the competitiveness
                             of related industrial activities
... External websites > Council of Europe - CoE Media Division

European Convention on Transfrontier Television

This Convention of the Council of Europe lays down a number of rules for the free and unhindered circulation of television programmes across the countries concerned. The Convention was the first legal instrument to define at the wider European level a number of common principles for the transfrontier circulation of television programmes. The objectives and principles and the field of application of the Convention and the Directive are nearly the same.

In 2007 the revision of the Convention has been initiated with the aim to align its provisions with the new rules set at the EU level by the AVMSD.

... More information >  Council of Europe
... Document > European Convention on Transfrontier Television

... External websites > Council of Europe - CoE Media Division

European work

To support the European works the AVMS Directive includes a system for Promotion of distribution and production of European works.  Following Article 16 of the AVMS Directive, the Member States must ensure - where practical and by appropriate means – that broadcasters reserve a majority proportion of their transmission time for European works.

The AVMSD also requires media service providers of on–demand audiovisual services to promote, where practicable and by appropriate means, production of and access to European works (Article 13(1)).

The notion of ‘European work’ is spelled out in Article 1(n) AVMSD.  European works are not only works which are produced in a European country - either the Member State or a state party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe. The notion of European works includes also works produced within the framework of bilateral co-production treaties concluded between Member States and third countries if the Union co-producers supply a majority share of the production cost and control the production.

... More information > Promotion and Distribution
... Documents >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Events of major importance for society

The AVMS Directive lays down framework conditions in which the public may be guaranteed access on free-to-air television to the broadcasts of events of major importance for society (Article 14). Each Member State is entitled to draw up a list of events which are seen as being of major importance for society. These events must be broadcast unencrypted. Besides that, on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition, Member States must ensure that broadcasters under their jurisdiction respect the lists of other Member States which notified them to the Commission.

The events concerned may be national or other, such as the Olympic Games, the Football World Cup or the European Football Championship. The notified lists can also contain an inauguration, a marriage or burial of a king, queen or head of state, or an important cultural event.

... More information > Events of Major Importance
... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

  External Policy 

see Audiovisual and Media Policies website

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F

Film online

Film online services are becoming a commercial reality in Europe. There is an urgent need for a meaningful dialogue between the film industry and the online services providers to ensure that online distribution takes place through legal supply. In order to accommodate this need, the Commission has started the “Film Online exercise”, which was kicked off by the “Leadership Summit on Film Online on 23 of May 2006 at “European Day” of 59th Cannes Film Festival. In addition, it is very important to raise awareness on the part of the public, including the youth, on the importance of intellectual property rights for the availability of content and adequate protection of copyright protected content, which is a condition for the availability of ‘rich’ online content. The follow-up to this initiative takes place within the framework of the initiative on Creative Content Online in the Single Market.

... More information > Content Online
... Document > - European Charter for the Development and the Take-Up of
                          Film Online
                        - List of endorsing companies 

Freedom of expression

The Treaty on the European Union stipulates that the Union shall respect fundamental rights as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe, notably Article 10 of this Convention which lays down the freedom of expression. Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on freedom of expression and information guarantees that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that the freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected. With the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will be introduced into European primary law.

The Council of Europe's Convention on transfrontier Television and on EU level the Audiovisual Media Service Directive guarantee freedom of expression for electronic broadcasting respectively audiovisual media services in transfrontier cases.

... Documents > Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union - Summary

Freedom of movement, Freedom to provide services

The establishment of the internal market covers the four freedoms of movement for goods, people, capital and the freedom to provide services. With old barriers gone, people, goods, services and money move around Europe as freely as within one country. Television broadcasting constitutes a service within the meaning of the Treaty. According to Article 3 of the AVMSD, Member States must ensure freedom of reception and must not restrict retransmission on their territory of television broadcasters / audiovisual media services from other Member States for reasons which fall within the fields coordinated by the Directive. Member States may provisionally derogate from this provision, if a broadcaster from another Member State manifestly, seriously and gravely infringes the rules concerning protection of minors and public order. To suspend the retransmission of television programmes, Member States have to follow the procedure laid down in Article 3(2)-(6) of the AVMS Directive. With regard to on-demand-audiovisual media services, the new AVMSD has maintained the wider conditions to derogate from the freedom of reception. The AVMS Directive has also introduced a new procedure for Member States to prevent under specific circumstances the reception of targeted broadcasts from another Member State.

... More information > - AVMSD
                                    -
AVMSD - Freedom of reception & retransmission
                                    - The Internal Market for Services

Freedom to receive information by satellite dish

A considerable number of European citizens would like to obtain access, via satellite, to television programmes from outside their country of residence. This is no problem technically, but there are a number of legal issues attached to it, especially with regard to copyright licensing agreements.

Under European law, Directive 93/83/EEC aims at facilitating the cross border transmission of audiovisual programmes, e.g. broadcasting via satellite and retransmission by cable. In view of that objective, mechanisms are set up in order to ensure that creators and producers of programmes obtain a fair remuneration, on grounds of intellectual property rights, for the use of their creations.

... More information > Use of Satellite Dishes on EC Internal Market Portal
... Documents >   - Directive 93/83/EEC (CABSAT)
                            -
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                            - Communication concerning the use of satellite dishes

Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

FTAs are preferential trade agreements negotiated by the EU with international partners. They are an essential tool in the EU competitiveness agenda for trade policy. The EU has launched negotiations for such agreements with key partners whose market potential makes them a priority target (e.g. South Korea, India, ASEAN) and intends to ensure that they are a stepping stone for multilateral trade negotiations, by tackling issues which are not ready for multilateral discussion and going beyond the market opening that can be achieved in the WTO. Part of the EU strategy are also the Economic and Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiated with the ACP countries and trade arrangements of the future association agreements to be negotiated with various world regions.

In these negotiations, commitments are not made for the audiovisual sector. However, for the EU it is important to be in the front-line of the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity and the strengthening of international cooperation in the cultural area. The Commission has thus been mandated to negotiate a specific framework for cooperation to address cultural goods and services (including the audiovisual sector) in a number of trade negotiations covering trade in services. In this context, a Protocol on Cultural Cooperation is proposed for inclusion in FTAs with Korea, India, Asean, in EPAs, and in association agreements with Central America, the Andean Community and Euro-mediterranean countries.

Free-to-air broadcasting

Means broadcasting, either public service or commercial, of programmes which are accessible to the public without paying any specific fees (except licence fees and/or the basic tier subscription fees to a cable network). ‘Free to air’ television may cover transmission by cable, satellite and terrestrial technologies but excludes services to which access is limited by Conditional access systems such as Pay-TV Services.

Free-to-view broadcasting

Means broadcasting of services that may require a one-time activation fee, but without subsequent costs for viewers. Usually this takes the form of an encrypted broadcast that needs an access card in order to be decrypted and viewed. ‘Free-to-view’ services allow broadcasters to abide by copyright licensing agreements that restrict free access to a subset of their total broadcast area, such as an individual Member State.

 

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G

GATS - General Agreement on Trade in Services

GATS is a sectoral agreement of the World Trade Organisation dealing with the liberalisation of services. The GATS consists of the framework agreement - the Articles - and its Annexes. The main body of the Agreement contains rules of a general nature, applicable to all GATS services without any restrictions. Such rules are notably transparency, economic integration, domestic regulation and subsidies. They impose clear obligations on the Parties to the Agreement. The Agreement also consists of the schedules of specific commitments related to the two disciplines of Market Access and National Treatment, and the lists of exemptions from the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment submitted by the Parties to the Agreement. The schedules and the exemption lists are integral parts of the Agreement.

As the vast majority of other WTO trading partners, the EU is convinced of the need to maintain the possibility to preserve and develop its capacity to define and implement policies in the audio-visual sector, in particular for the purpose of preserving cultural diversity. Therefore, the EU did not offer to make any GATS commitment in the audio-visual sector in its initial services in 2003, nor did it submit any requests for the audio-visual service sector to its WTO trading partners in 2005. The European Union and its Member States also maintained audio-visual exemptions from the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment. The Union will continue to defend this position in the future negotiations of the ongoing Doha Development Round.

... More information > GATS
 

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H

HbbTV

HbbTV is an ETSI standard applied by a number of broadcasters, content providers, networks and consumer device manufacturers in Europe to link broadcast and broadband content –
 

... External website > HbbTV


 

  HD ready/HD ready 1080p labels

Almost all flat panel TVs on sale today carry the HD ready label with either 720 or 1080 pixels of vertical resolution. Pictures may be scanned progressively, so called 720P or 1080P or use the older interlace format (1080i). Any of these scanning formats may be the display's native format. HD displays convert pictures into the display's native format from the other HD formats and also scale standard definition TV pictures so they are shown correctly. EICTA defined the first HD ready label in 2005.

... External website > EICTA

HDTV - High definition Television

HDTV has up to twice the vertical and horizontal picture resolution of standard definition TV; the additional resolution makes it possible to watch TV on much bigger screens without causing any deterioration of the picture quality. HDTV features the 16/9 wide-screen aspect ratio rather than the traditional 4:3 format - making the image more "movie-like" – together with multi-track surround sound audio. The combination of wide-screen, high resolution and big displays widens the viewing angle compared with traditional TV. This transforms television from an objective viewing experience – staring at a small screen – to a subjective experience, i.e. the eye wanders within the frame. This significantly enhances impact and realism, bringing the HDTV experience closer to cinema, notably when viewing on large flat-panel displays whose diagonal width exceeds 100cms.

HD programming is already available in Europe, notably via satellite, using the MPEG 4 part 10 compression system, on Blu-ray disk and over the internet. Content has to be originated either in HD video or on film.

... External website > HDTVFAQ.org

 

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I

I2010

In June 2005 the Commission launched the five-year strategy to boost the digital economy “i2010: European Information Society 2010” to foster growth and jobs in the information society and media industries. i2010 is a comprehensive strategy for modernising and deploying all EU policy instruments to encourage the development of the digital economy: regulatory instruments, research and partnerships with industry. The Commission promotes in particular high-speed and secure broadband networks offering rich and diverse content in Europe.

... More information > i2010 on INFSO Portal
... Document > i2010 Communication

Incitement to hatred

Article 6 of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive (AVMSD) stipulates that Member States must ensure that broadcasts and advertising / audiovisual commercial communications (Article 9(1)c) do not contain any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality. This rule, like the Directive in general, applies to third country broadcasters if they use a satellite transmission capacity appertaining to a Member State or a satellite up-link situated in a Member State.

The Member States are responsible for defining "incitement to hatred" in accordance with their national legislation and moral values. If an on-demand audiovisual media service provider or a television broadcaster manifestly and gravely infringes these provisions, Member States can restrict the retransmission of this programme from another Member State.

... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Independent producer

To stimulate new resources of television production (especially the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises) the AVMS Directive supports productions from producers who are independent of broadcasters. Member States must ensure, where practicable and by appropriate means, that broadcasters reserve at least 10 % of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sport events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, or alternatively at least 10% of their programming budget, for European works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters. Even if the Member States have to define the notion of independent producer, the AVMS Directive formulates some criteria which should be taken into account, such as ownership of the production company, the number of programmes supplied to the same broadcaster and the ownership of secondary rights (Article 17).

... See also > European works
... More information > AVMSD - Promotion and Distribution  

... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Information Society Service - eCommerce

Information society service means any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services. It spans a wide range of economic activities, which take place on-line, such as the selling of goods, offering on-line information or commercial communications, or providing tools that allow for search, access to and retrieval of data. Information Society services also cover services that consist of the transmission of information via a communications network, providing access to a communication network, and hosting information provided by a recipient of a service. Services that are transmitted point to point, such as video-on-demand or the provision of commercial communications by electronic mail, are also information society services. Television broadcasting and radio broadcasting are not information society services because they are not provided at individual request.

... See also > broadcasting service
... Documents >
- Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Directive on electronic commerce

Interactive Advertising

Interactive advertising allows the viewer to react via a return path or to interactively explore a chosen environment for as long as he wishes. As a service supplied on individual demand accompanying a programme, interactive advertising may be subject to the rules on audiovisual commercial communications in the AVMS Directive.

... More information > Television advertising and teleshopping
... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                         -
Interpretative communication  on television advertising

Interactive TV

This term covers both enhanced broadcasting – local interaction with an application that is temporarily resident in the receiver and “true interactivity” where there is a return channel. ‘True interactivity’ refers to a request by an individual transmitted through a ‘return channel’ to which the service provider replies by supplying individually requested data and services separately from the main video programme. "True interactivity" in the terms of the AVMSD can constitute an on-demand audiovisual media service.

Intercultural Dialogue

In promoting peace, stability and sustainable development in Europe and world-wide, the EU is actively supporting cultural diversity and dialogue among peoples and cultures. The Euromed Foreign Affairs Ministers in Valencia (in April 2002) decided to reinforce the cultural provisions of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and to create a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation to promote a dialogue of cultures and civilisations.

In October 2005, the Commission proposed that 2008 be declared the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue presents a wide variety of enriching concrete projects that are implemented in the framework of EU programmes and other Union actions. The challenge consists in introducing the dialogue where it matters most, that is to say in schools and education or training fora, at work but also in leisure, cultural, sports centres and civil society organisations

... More information > External Policy
                                    Culture

Interoperability

Directive 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Telecom Package) provides that interoperability of digital interactive television services and enhanced digital television equipment, at the level of the consumer, should be encouraged in order to ensure the free flow of information, media pluralism and cultural diversity. The interoperability should be achieved by using an open Application programme interface (API). One possible API is the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP).

In COM (2006) 37 the Commission reviewed to what extent market developments have contributed to interoperability and freedom of choice for users; the Commission considered that at the present time the market is best served by continuing to rely on industry-led voluntary standardisation initiatives.

... More information > Digital Broadcasting on INFSO Portal
... Documents > - Framework Directive
                          - Staff Working Document on the Review of the EU Regulatory
                          - Framework for electronic communications networks and
                             services

IPTV - Internet Protocol Television

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) delivers digital TV over a broadband connection. Instead of a bouquet of broadcast services being delivered simultaneously to a customer who then select one to watch using a TV tuner, the viewer requests an individual service from the server. The service is then streamed to the home for viewing using the internet protocol and other technologies known as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).

IPTV is typically supplied by a service provider using a closed network infrastructure, usually the legacy infrastructure originally constructed for the Public Switched Telephone Network, terminating in a so called "twisted pair" of copper wires in customer premises. In businesses, IPTV may be used to deliver television content over corporate LANs (Local Area Networks). This closed network approach exists in parallel with the delivery of video over the public Internet, sometimes called Internet Television to distinguish it from IPTV. The technical challenge of Internet TV is to deliver adequate technical quality at times when the internet is congested. IPTV is often provided in conjunction with Video on Demand and may be bundled with Internet services such as Web access and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). The commercial bundling of IPTV, VoIP and Internet access is referred to as "Triple Play" service (adding mobile voice service is called "Quadruple Play"). IPTV is sometimes called "Switched Digital Video" in the USA. IPTV – be it a linear broadcast service or an on-demand service – is covered by the AVMSD.

 

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J

Jurisdiction

The AVMS Directive provides the legal framework for television broadcasting within the European Union. The Directive lays down a number of criteria designed to determine the Member State with jurisdiction to ensure that a media service provider can be certain about which Member State's rules he will be subject to. These criteria are the location of the head office, the place where decisions on programming policy are usually taken; the place where the programme to be broadcast to the public and finally where the significant production of the workforce is done.

... More information > AVMSD Jurisdiction
... Document >   Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) 
 

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L

Licensing

To broadcast a programme, in many Member States an undertaking must request an authorisation or licence. However, this is not a requirement of European Union law; AVMSD leaves it to the Member States how they guarantee compliance with the Directive. Member States are not obliged to introduce or maintain licensing systems for broadcasters or on-demand audiovisual media service providers.

If a broadcaster is lawfully established in a Member State, another Member State cannot restrict retransmission and subject the broadcaster to a secondary control or a secondary licensing requirement. Only in narrowly defined cases Member States can derogate from the freedom of retransmission.  See also Derogation from the obligation to ensure freedom of reception and Jurisdiction (cooperation and circumvention procedure)

... More information > AVMSD General principles
... Document >   Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Linear audiovisual media service

The AVMS Directive covers all audiovisual media services, but distinguishes between "television broadcasting" or "television broadcast" and "on-demand audiovisual media service". In order to describe and distinguish both from each other, the AVMSD introduces the notions of "linear audiovisual media service" for television broadcasting/television (Article 1 (e)) broadcast and "non-linear audiovisual media service" for on-demand audiovisual media service (Article 1 (g)). Due to the different degrees of choice and control users can exercise with regard to on-demand audiovisual media services only a basic tier of rules applies to them. There are however stricter rules for television broadcasts in the fields of advertising and protection of minors (principle of graduated regulation).

... More information > AVMSD website

Lisbon Strategy

In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. This strategy contains development and modernisation in the field of information society, education and training, research and innovation, economic reforms for a complete and fully operational internal market, financial markets, employment policy, social protection and inclusion as well as the coordination of the macro-economic policies. Under this strategy, a stronger economy will drive job creation alongside social and environmental policies that ensure sustainable development and social inclusion.

... More information > Growth and Jobs on Europa
 

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M

Media Literacy

Media literacy may be generally defined as the ability to access the media, to understand and to critically evaluate different aspects of the media and media contents and to create communications in a variety of contexts. It relates to all media, including television, cinema, video, websites, print media, radio, video games and virtual communities. Furthermore, it relates to all informational and creative contents, i.e. all the various texts, images, sounds and messages which we are being confronted with daily and which are an important part of contemporary culture.

Under the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Commission has the obligation to report on media literacy in the Member States of the European Union.

... More information > Media Literacy (expert group - study)
... Document > Communication on media literacy in the digital environment

                        Recommendation on media literacy in the digital environment

Media Pluralism

See Pluralism of the Media

Media Programme

The MEDIA Programme aims at strengthening the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry with a range of support measures dealing with training of professionals, development of production projects, but mainly the distribution and promotion of cinematographic works and audiovisual programmes.

... More information > Media Programme
... Document > Media 2007

  Media Service provider

‘Media service provider’ means the natural or legal person who has editorial responsibility for the choice of the audiovisual content of an audiovisual media service and determines the manner in which it is organised (Article 1(1)(d) AVMSD). This excludes natural or legal persons who merely transmit programmes for which the editorial responsibility lies with third parties.

... More information > AVMSD website

MERCOSUR Audiovisual, or RECAM (Reunión Especializada de Autoridades Cinematográficas y Audiovisuales del MERCOSUR)

MERCOSUR Audiovisual was created by the MERCOSUR authorities in December 2003.

In the context of the Interregional framework cooperation agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR of 1995 currently in-force, the EU is in contact with RECAM’s Secretariat with a view to provide technical assistance and to help them to benefit from the expertise gathered during the development of the EU’s audiovisual policy and mechanisms.

The guiding principles and objectives of MERCOSUR Audiovisual coincide substantially those of the EU, and the development and consolidation of this project should have positive consequences in a number of areas: audiovisual industry in MERCOSUR, regional integration, cultural diversity, the mutual knowledge of the cultures of the two sides and the furthering of cooperation and exchanges in the audiovisual field.

... More information > Co-operation in the audio-visual field
... External website> MERCOSUR

MHEG-5

ISO's Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts' Group defined MHEG-5 as a programming language together with the Digital Audio Video Council (DAVIC) in 1995. It has been deployed as a simple, low cost API for interactive television. MHEG-5 capability is specified for digital terrestrial TV receivers in UK - where over 27m MHEG-5-equipped receivers have been deployed since the start of terrestrial services in 1998 - and in Ireland; it is also used in several countries outside the EU. It is an ETSI standard, ES 202 184.

MHP - Multimedia Home Platform

The Framework Directive which is part of the Telecom Package requires Member States to encourage providers of digital interactive television services to use an open Application Programme Interface (API) (Article 18 (1a)). One possible API is the Multimedia Home Platform MHP. The specification of MHP has been developed by the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB). It allows the reception and execution of interactive, Java-based applications on a TV-set. These applications can be for example information services, games, interactive voting, e-mail, SMS or shopping.

... More information > Digital Broadcasting
... Document > Framework Directive
... External websites > Multimedia Home Platform

Mini-spots

Mini-spots consist of broadcasting an extremely short advertising spot. National authorities must ensure that the broadcast of mini-spots does not undermine the key principles on the form and presentation of television advertising laid down in AVMS Directive, such as a clear distinction between editorial content and commercial communications. In addition, the Member States must ensure that the broadcast of mini-spots is “the exception”, in accordance with the rule that isolated advertising must remain the exception (Article 19(2) AVMS Directive). Mini-spots are allowed in broadcasts of sports events.

... More information >  Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document>  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) 
                         Commission interpretative Communication on Advertising

  Mobile TV

Mobile TV refers to the transmission of audiovisual content to mobile devices. Such a transmission can take different forms, from live TV to time-shifted or on-demand. Transmission of M-TV services can take place over various networks including cellular-mobile communications, terrestrial broadcast, satellite and Internet. We distinguish between unicast ("one to one") and broadcast ("one to many") mobile TV services. Video on demand or time-shifted on demand transmissions are examples of unicasting, while traditional TV programmes are normally broadcast. Unicasting is today very common and most operators use the existing mobile communications cellular networks (2,5 or 3G/UMTS) to deliver TV content to mobile devices. As regards the delivery of mobile TV over broadcasting networks, e.g via DMB or DVB-H, it is still at a very early stage of development. In order to support the introduction and take-up of this nascent market the Commission adopted on 18 of July 2007 a Communication on "Strengthening the Internal Market for Mobile TV".

For the success of Mobile TV, the Commissions considers that agreement on a common standard is necessary. Currently, DVB-H seems to have the best perspectives. Regulation must guarantee legal certainty. Finally, appropriate frequency bands must be made available. 

... More information > Mobile TV

MPEG

The Moving Picture Experts Group, which provides video and audio codec standards.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3

More commonly referred to as MP3, this is a digital audio encoding and compression format, designed to reduce the amount of data without significant loss of audio quality.

MPEG-2

The most common codec standard used for the source coding of digital video signals for broadcast transmission systems such as satellite, terrestrial and cable. Also used in standard definition DVD players.

MPEG-4

A codec standard optimised for low bandwidth Internet video streams.

MPEG-4 Part 10 (also MPEG-4 AVC or H.264)

This is a recent compression system, providing high quality video at much lower bandwidths. It is potentially about twice as efficient as MPEG 2 and is suitable both for very low bit-rate video services and other levels of quality up to and including HDTV. HDTV transmissions using MPEG4 AVC are available in a number of EU Member States following the system's integration into the different DVB transmission systems. It is also one of the compression systems included in the BluRay HD disk system. Its chief rival is the WM9/VC9 codec now standardised in the US by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

  Multiplex

Multiplexing is a technique to group several digital TV channels together for a broadcast. Thus, a number of TV channels can be carried by one single signal/ frequency.

Must-carry

Must-carry rules require certain television or radio channels to be carried over certain networks. The reasons invoked are typically the universal accessibility of certain, in particular local or regional radio and television programmes and the need to guarantee a pluralistic offer to the public. Must-carry rules usually benefit broadcasters with a public service remit, but commercial broadcasters also benefit in certain countries. According to Article 31 of the Universal Service Directive of the Telecom Package, Must-carry obligations may only be placed on electronic communications networks used for the distribution of radio or television broadcasts to the public where a significant number of end-users of such networks use them as their principal means to receive radio and television broadcasts. Must-carry obligations shall only be imposed where they are necessary to meet clearly defined general interest objectives and shall be proportionate and transparent.

... More information > Today's Framework - Tomorrow’s Framework
... Document > Universal Service Directive
 

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N

Neighbourhood Policy

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a new policy that invites our neighbours to the East and to the South to share in the peace, stability and prosperity that we enjoy in the European Union and which aims to create a ring of friends around the borders of the new enlarged EU.

The ENP offers the countries an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation in an approach founded on partnership, joint ownership and differentiation: the principle that our work with each country should be tailor-made to their respective interests and capacities.

Co-operation in the audiovisual field in the framework of the European Neighbourhood policy is an integral part of the audiovisual action at EC level. The main objective is to foster better mutual understanding and an exchange of views on audiovisual policy, including co operation in the fight against racism and xenophobia.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Euromed Cultural Co-operation are an integral part of the European neighbourhood policy.

... More information > - The European Neighbourhood Policy
                                     - The EU's Mediterranean & Middle East Policy

Networks

Communication Networks correspond to a complete system of communications between users' terminals. Networks may be "point to point" (the transmission goes from a fixed origin to a fixed destination), "switched" (the transmission is switched so as to reach a single destination out of many) or "broadcast" (the transmission goes simultaneously to multiple destinations). Networks may be "public" (owned by an operator and open to any member of the public that subscribes) or "private" (owned or leased by an individual or company or group of companies exclusively for its own use.

The definition of "audiovisual media service" in Article 1(1)(a) AVMSD refers to the definition of "electronic communications network" in Article 2 (a) of Directive 2002/21/EC.

... Documents > Directive 2002/21/EC
                          Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

New Advertising Techniques

New advertising techniques such as Interactive Advertising, Split-screen and Virtual Advertising have emerged over the past few years.

The AVMSD recognizes the specificity of new advertising techniques stating that the separation principle should not prevent the use of new advertising techniques.

... More information >  Television advertising and teleshopping
... Documents > -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) 
                          -  Study on the development of new advertising techniques
                          -  Commission interpretative Communication on Advertising

  Non-linear audiovisual media service

The AVMS Directive covers all audiovisual media services, but distinguishes between "television broadcasting" or "television broadcast" and "on-demand audiovisual media service". In order to describe and distinguish both from each other, the AVMSD introduces the notions of "linear audiovisual media service" for television broadcasting/television (Article 1(1)(e)) broadcast and "non- linear audiovisual media service" for on-demand audiovisual media service (Article 1(1)(g)). Due to the different degrees of choice and control users can exercise with regard to on-demand audiovisual media services only a basic tier of rules applies to them. There are however stricter rules for television broadcasts in the fields of advertising and protection of minors (principle of graduated regulation).

... More information > AVMSD

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O

OECD

Twenty countries originally signed the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1960. The OECD has a twofold activity as administrator of legal instruments, notably in the field of investment and movement of capital, and "think tank" or discussions on emerging issues, which are of relevance to its members. It has developed initiatives and discussions on specific topics, which are directly relevant to the audiovisual sector, such as rules, and guidelines on investment, invisible transactions and electronic commerce.

... More information > External Policy - OECD
... External websites > OECD

  On-demand audiovisual media services

The AVMS Directive covers all audiovisual media services including television broadcasts (linear audiovisual media services) and on-demand audiovisual media services (non-linear audiovisual media services). In defining both, the notions of "linear audiovisual media services" for the first and "non-linear audiovisual media service" for the latter are introduced.

On-demand / non-linear audiovisual media services are provided by a media service provider for the viewing of programmes at the moment chosen by the user and at his/her individual request on the basis of a catalogue of programmes selected by the media service provider.

... More information> Audiovisual and Media Policies | Europa
... Document >
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
 

OTT - Over-the-top


Over-the-top players provide audiovisual content online generally without themselves being internet service providers or network operators / electronic communications services and network providers.
 

Overlapping clock hour

The AVMS Directive refers to “the proportion of advertising spots and teleshopping within a given clock hour” (Article 23). The Union legislator wanted to introduce the clock hour criterion without, however, specifying whether this was to be understood as a natural clock hour or an overlapping clock hour. Applying the overlapping clock hour broadcasting could, for example, start at 6.05 on any given day. In this case, consecutive clock hours would run from 6.05 to 7.04 , from 7.05 to 8.04, and so on. In the interpretative Communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the TVWF the Commission clarified this concept.

... More information > Television advertising and teleshopping
... Documents > -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Commission interpretative Communication on Advertising

 

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P

  P2P, Peer to Peer Network

In a peer to peer (or P2P) computer network participants are connected with each other, whereby the cumulative bandwidth of network participants is used. P2P networks are typically used for connecting nodes via ad hoc connections. A pure P2P network does not have the notion of clients or servers but only equal peer nodes that simultaneously function as both "clients" and "servers" to the other nodes on the network. Such networks are widely used for sharing content files such as software, audio, video, data or anything in digital format. Real-time data, such as telephony traffic or IPTV, is also passed using P2P technology. The technology itself is legal and applied increasingly in various business models. However, it has also been used for copyright infringements (illegal file sharing).

Pay TV

Users obtain access to additional or premium content in return for a specific fee e.g. regular subscription or ‘pay per use’. Pay-TV channels broadcast in an encoded (encrypted) form so that access (via a decoder) is limited to only those people who have subscribed to the Pay-TV offers. Pay-television services are covered by the AVMS Directive.

... More information > AVMSD
... Documents >
 Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Personal Video Recorder

A personal video recorder (PVR) or digital video recorder (DVR) records audiovisual content in a digital format to a disk drive or another memory medium.

Pluralism / Media concentration

Media pluralism is a concept that embraces a number of ideas, such as diversity of ownership, variety in the sources of information and in the range of content available in the different Member States. In terms of political debate, media pluralism has come to mean, almost exclusively, plurality of ownership. Media pluralism however includes all measures that ensure citizen’s access to a variety of information sources, opinion, voices etc. in order to form their opinion without the undue influence of one dominant opinion forming power. Given the wider transformation of the media sector thanks to new technologies and the arrival of new media players, a broader approach to pluralism beyond the narrow issue of concentration will be more appropriate.

The European Union is committed to protecting media pluralism as well as the right to information and freedom of expression enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Similar provisions are included in Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Responding to continuing political concern about media pluralism, the Commission has launched an initiative for advancing the debate on media pluralism within the European Union:

... More information >  Media freedom and Pluralism on Digital Agenda for Europe
... Documents >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                      

Principle of graduated regulation

Due to the different degrees of choice and control users can exercise with regard to on-demand audiovisual media services only a basic tier of rules applies to them. There are however stricter rules for television broadcasts in the fields of advertising and protection of minors.

Product placement

Product placements consists of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a service or the trade mark thereof so that it is featured within a programme, in return for payment or for similar consideration.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) stipulates clear rules on product placement that is admissible in certain programmes and for certain products/ services unless a Member State decides otherwise ("Opt-out"). The broadcaster has the obligation to inform consumers when it takes place. Viewers must be clearly informed about it at the start and at the end of programme and each time a programme resumes after an advertising break.

... More information > Product placement

... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Promotion of distribution and production of television programmes

In order to encourage the distribution and production of European television programmes, Member States must ensure where practicable that broadcasters reserve for European works a majority proportion of their transmission time, excluding the time allocated to news, sports events, games, advertising and teletext and teleshopping services (Article 16). Broadcasters must also reserve at least 10% of their transmission time or 10% of their programming budget for European works from Independent producers (Article 17). Under the system provided for in the AVMS Directive, Member States are required to submit to the Commission every two years a report on the application of Articles 16 and 17.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive also establishes an obligation for providers of on-demand audiovisual media services to promote, where practicable and by appropriate means, production of and access to European works (Article 3i AVMSD).

... More information > Promotion and distribution
... Document > -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
 

Promotion of the film industry

The European cinema is an important sector of the audiovisual industry. The European Union has devised specific and general instruments for the support of the European film industry.

First, the MEDIA programme(s) are specifically designed to promote the European cinema in its pre-production phase (training and development) and the circulation of European films (distribution and promotion).

Second, Articles 16 and 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive provide a general framework for the promotion of European works, including cinema and TV films (see also State aid rules to cinema and TV productions).

... More information > Media Programme - Promotion and distribution  
... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Media 2007

Protection of Minors

Programmes that might seriously impair the development of minors (e.g. pornography and gratuitous violence) are prohibited. Those which might simply be harmful to minors must, where they are not encrypted or shown at a time when they will normally not be seen by minors (watershed), be preceded by an acoustic warning or made clearly identifiable throughout their duration by means of a visual symbol.  The Commission carried out an investigation of the possible advantages and drawbacks of further measures to facilitate parents' control of broadcasts watched by their children (e.g. the V-chip). Member States may derogate from the principle of freedom of reception if the TV broadcast from another Member State manifestly, seriously and gravely infringes the Protection of Minor rules (Article 3(2)-(3)). As far as advertising is concerned, Article 9 of the AVMS Directive lays down specific rules to protect minors (Television advertising and minors).

Article 12 of the AVMSD states that "Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that on-demand audiovisual media services provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors are only made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see on-demand audiovisual media services". See Audiovisual Media Services Directive

The provisions of the Directive are complemented by Recommendations on the protection of minors and human dignity. The first one was adopted in 1998 and an additional Recommendation was adopted in 2006 in order to be able to keep up with the challenges which technological developments brought. It builds upon the original 1998 Recommendation which remains valid. The new Recommendation refers to media literacy or media education programmes, the right of reply across all media, cooperation and the sharing of experience and good practices between (self-)regulatory bodies, which deal with the rating or classification of audiovisual content and action against discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in all media.

The Recommendations are closely linked to the Action Plan on Promoting Safe Use on the Internet which ran from 1999 to 2004 with a total budget of 38.3 mio Euro and its successor, the Safer Internet plus programme. The Safer Internet plus programme aims to promote safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end-user, as part of a coherent approach by the European Union. The first 4-year programme (2005–08) had a budget of € 45 million. Safer Internet 2009-2013 builds upon the Safer Internet plus programme and has a budget of € 55 million. Encompassing recent communications services from the web 2.0, such as social networking, the current programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful conduct such as grooming and bullying.

... More information > - Protection of Minors
                                    - Safer Internet Programme (2009 - 2013)

... Documents>  -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Recommendation on the protection of minors
                              and human dignity and the right of reply

Public Order

The Member States must ensure that broadcasts do not contain any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality. Member States may derogate from the principle of freedom of reception (see Derogation from the obligation to ensure freedom of reception) if a TV broadcast or an on-demand audiovisual media service from another Member State manifestly, seriously and gravely infringes these public order rules.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive includes a prohibition of incitement to hatred for all audiovisual media services (Art 6). New possibilities with regard to derogations are provided for in AVMSD.

... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Public Service Broadcaster, Amsterdam Protocol

Public Service Broadcaster is a broadcaster entrusted with a public service mandate. According to the Protocol on the System of public broadcasting in the Member States attached to the Treaty of Amsterdam, public broadcasting is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and to the need to preserve media pluralism. The definition of the public service mandate falls within the competence of the Member States, which can decide at national, regional or local level.

As regards funding of public service broadcasting, the Commission's task is to verify whether such funding does not affect trading conditions and competition in the Union to an extent which would be contrary to the common interest, under the Treaty State Aid rules. The principles for Commission's action in this area are laid down in the Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service Broadcasting (2001). This Communication has been revised in 2009 on the basis of the Commission's practice and taking account of technological and market developments.
 

... More information > - Public Service Broadcasting
                                    - State aid control on Competition Portal

... Documents > - Protocol on the system of public broadcasting
                             in the Member States
                          - Communication on State aid rules to public service broadcasting  (2009)
 

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R

Radio spectrum policy

Radio appliances such as television sets, radios and mobile phones work by propagating electromagnetic waves between a transmitter and a receiver. The "radio spectrum" means all the possible frequencies that these waves could have. The "frequency" is the number of times a wave oscillates in a second, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency a specific signal can be picked up. Frequency bands define the specific location of services in the radio spectrum. The extremely rapid technical developments of recent years - essentially the development of mobile applications - have resulted in a boom in demand for use of the frequency spectrum. This rapid expansion is making management of the radio spectrum more difficult. The so-called Radio Spectrum Decision (a part of the Telecom Package) therefore proposes establishing general methods to harmonise the use of the radio spectrum within the European Union. Additionally, in order to harmonise the availability of information on the use of radio spectrum in the Community, in May 2007 the Commission adopted another decision – Commission Decision on harmonised availability of information regarding spectrum use within the Community. It provides for the harmonisation of the availability of information through a common information point and by the harmonisation of the format and content of such information.

... More information > Radio Spectrum on INFSO Portal
                                    Telecom package

... Documents > - Radio Spectrum Decision
                          - Decision on harmonised availability of information regarding
                             spectrum use

Regulatory Authorities in the field of Audiovisual Media Services

An informal group of the EU regulatory authorities in the field of audiovisual media services has been meeting since 2003. In general, independent regulatory authorities in the field of broadcasting have to supervise audiovisual programmes’ compliance with European and national rules. Cooperation between regulatory authorities facilitates the correct interpretation and consistent application of the AVMS Directive. The meetings are attended by independent national regulatory authorities of the Member States, the candidate countries and the EEA countries. The AVMSD also provides in Art 30 for the cooperation between National Regulatory Bodies and the Commission.

... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Conclusions of the chair - Annual meeting
                          - Incitement to hatred in broadcasts coming from outside of the
                             European Union – Conclusions - 17 March 2005
EN FR DE

Right of reply

Any person whose legitimate interests (reputation or good name) have been damaged by an assertion of incorrect facts in a television programme has the right of reply or equivalent remedies. The reply shall be transmitted within a reasonable time subsequent to the request being substantiated and at a time and in a manner appropriate to the broadcast to which the request refers (Article 28 AVMS Directive). In the Recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity and the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and information services industry, the right of reply for all media had been included.

The Commission also supported similar efforts by the Council of Europe that led to the adoption in 2004 of a Recommendation that urges member states to extend the right of reply to online environment.

... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Recommendation on the protection of minors and human
                             dignity and the right of reply
                          - Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the right
                            of reply in the new media environment (CoE)     

 

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S

Satellite broadcasting

By its very nature, satellite broadcasting transcends national borders. It covers large geographical areas and several countries, or even the whole of the European Union (and beyond). With the Green Paper on the establishment of a Common market in broadcasting, especially by Satellite and Cable from 1984, the European Commission described the potential lying in satellite broadcasting and the need for a consistent transfrontier legal framework. The Green paper was then the basis for the TVwF Directive from 1989.

See also jurisdiction.

... Document >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) 

Satellite Dish

Device necessary to receive channels broadcast via satellite. The diameter varies from 60cm on. Satellite dishes are an essential link in the chain of services distributed by satellite. The Commission published a Communication on the right to use a satellite dish in 2001.

... More information > Use of Satellite Dishes 
... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Self-promotion

Self promotion activities are a particular form of advertising in which the broadcaster promotes his own products, services, programmes or channels. Announcements made by the broadcasters in connection with his own programme and ancillary products directly derived from these are not included in the time limits for advertising and teleshopping spots. See Article 23 AVMS Directive.

... More information > Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Self-regulation

Self-regulation refers to a variety of practices, common rules, codes of conduct or voluntary agreements defined, on a voluntary basis, by economic and social actors, NGOs or other organised groups themselves for the purpose of governing and organising their activities. Unlike co-regulation, self-regulation does not necessarily imply legal measures. The notions of concepts such as self-regulation, self-control or Co-regulation are not harmonised in the Member States. Regulatory models that are called “self-regulation” in one Member State would be qualified as “co-regulation” by others.

At EU level, according to the Inter Institutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking (O.J. No. C 321, 31 December 2003, p.1.) self-regulation is defined as the possibility for economic operators, the social partners, non-governmental organisations or associations to adopt amongst themselves and for themselves common guidelines at European level (particularly codes of practice or sectoral agreements). As a general rule, this type of voluntary initiative does not imply that the Institutions have adopted any particular stance, in particular where such initiatives are undertaken in areas which are not covered by the Treaties or in which the Union has not hitherto legislated. As one of its responsibilities, the Commission will scrutinise self-regulation practices in order to verify that they comply with the provisions of the EC Treaty.

The AVMS Directive refers to co- and self-regulation by indicating in Article 4(7) that Member States should encourage co- and self-regulation at national level in the fields coordinated by the Directive. Additionally, Article 9(2) requires from Member States and the Commission to encourage media service providers to develop codes of conduct regarding inappropriate audiovisual commercial communication, accompanying or included in children's programmes of food and beverages containing nutrients and substances with a nutritional or physiological effect.

... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                          - Interinstitutional agreement on better law-making
                          - Study on co-regulation measures in the media sector

Services of general interest

Even if this term is not defined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union  (the term «services of general economic interest» is used in Articles 14 and 106(2) of the Treaty) or in secondary legislation, there is broad agreement that the term refers to services of an economic nature which the Member States or the Union subject to specific public service obligations by virtue of a general interest criterion. The concept of services of general economic interest thus covers a broad range of different types of activities, from certain activities in the major network industries (energy, postal services, transport and telecommunications) to health, education and social services. The Commission published a Green Paper on Services of General Interest in which the specific nature of broadcasting has been underlined and possible EU action has been discussed.

The special role of public service broadcasting as a service of general interest is laid down in the Protocol on the System of Public Broadcasting in the Member States. The Commission ‘Communication on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting’ explains how to implement State Aid rules with regard to public service broadcasting.

... More information > Services of General Interest on Europa
... Documents > - Protocol on the system of public broadcasting
                           - Communication on State aid rules to public service broadcasting  (2009) 

Short extracts of events / short reporting rights

Article 15 AVMSD provides that for the purpose of short news reports, any broadcaster established in the Union has access on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis to events of high interest to the public which are transmitted by another broadcaster on an exclusive basis.

The European Convention on Transfrontier Television asks parties to the Convention to take legal measures - where necessary - "such as introducing the right to short reporting on events of high interest for the public to avoid the right of the public to information being undermined due to the exercise by a broadcaster" of exclusive rights. The Explanatory Report on the Convention specifies that this right is based on the right of the public to receive information.

... More information > AVMSD
... Documents >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) 
                           -  CoE Recommendation No.R (91)5

Simulcast

Simulcast means inter alia the broadcasting of analogue and digital signals simultaneously (hence the term simulcast). See: Switchover/Switch-off.

... Document > Accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting

Sliding Hour

According to the sliding hour criterion a broadcaster may not broadcast more than 20% advertising, regardless of the precise moment from which a given one-hour period is deemed to run.  Article 23 refers to “the proportion of advertising spots and teleshopping within a given clock hour”. The EU legislator introduced the clock hour criterion without, however, specifying whether this was to be understood as a natural clock hour or an overlapping clock hour. In the interpretative Communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the TVwF the Commission clarified this concept.

... More information > Television advertising and teleshopping
... Documents > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                           - Commission interpretative Communication on televised Advertising

Split screen

Split screen advertising consists of the simultaneous or parallel transmission of editorial content and advertising content. For example, one or more advertising spots appear in a window during the transmission of a programme in such a way that two separate images are visible on the screen. Provided the space set aside for advertising is not excessive, this technique enables the viewer to continue to watch the editorial programme during the transmission of an advertising spot. In the interpretative Communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the TVwF Directive the Commission clarified that split screen advertising is compatible with the Directive, provided it is readily recognisable and kept quite separate from other parts of the programme by acoustic or optical means so as to prevent viewers mistaking advertising for editorial content. Split screen advertising must not prejudice the integrity of the programme during which it is broadcast. Split screen advertising is fully covered by the provisions of AVMS Directive (Article 1(1)(h)).

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                    - Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Documents > -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                           - Commission interpretative Communication on televised Advertising

Sponsoring/Sponsorship

Sponsorship means any contribution made by a public or private undertaking not engaged in television broadcasting activities or in the production of audiovisual works to the financing of TV programmes with a view to promoting its name, its trade mark, its image, its activities or its products.

Sponsorship of television programmes is permitted, provided it complies with certain rules.

Sponsorship must not affect the broadcaster's editorial independence. It must be clearly identified as such by the name or the logo of the sponsor at the beginning, during and/or the end of the programmes. In addition, sponsored television programmes must not encourage the purchase of the sponsor's products or services. News and current affairs programmes may not be sponsored.

The AVMSD extends the sponsoring rules to all audiovisual services or programmes that are sponsored (Article 10).

... More information > - Sponsorship
... Document >-  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Spots (advertising and teleshopping)

The AVMS Directive lays down general principles for advertising and television spots: They should be fair, honest, not misleading or impair children morally or physically. They should be clearly distinguishable as such and kept separate from other items by optical and/or acoustical means.

Article 19(2) of the AVMS Directive provides that isolated advertising and teleshopping spots must remain the exception. In this respect, the Commission Interpretative Communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the “Television without Frontiers” Directive provides that there may be circumstances where individual spots are permissible, in the case for example of a single long advertisement, or where the period available for advertising or teleshopping is very short, as between the rounds of a boxing or wrestling match, or where the broadcaster has insufficient advertising orders to permit a grouping of spots.

The AVMSD explicitly refers to the transmissions of sports events as an example of isolated spots that are permissible under the Directive. It also clarifies (Recital 87) that television advertising spots should be understood as television advertising (within the meaning of Article 1(1)(i) of the AVMS Directive) of duration of not more than 12 minutes.

... More information > -Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television

The Standing Committee was established by Article 20 of the European Convention on transfrontier Television. Parties to the Convention are members of the T-TT. The Standing Committee follows the application of the Convention.

... More information > Cooperation with the Council of Europe in the
                                     audiovisual field
... Document > - European Convention for the Protection of the
                           Audiovisual Heritage
... Exter
nal websites > Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (T-TT)

State Aid

The basic rules on State aid under the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU are as follows: Article 108 (3) of the TFEU stipulates that Member States must inform the Commission of any plans to grant or alter aid before putting it into effect. Article 107 (1) TFEU prohibits aid granted by the State or through State resources, which distorts or threatens to distort competition and trade between Member States. However, the Commission may exempt certain State aid from this prohibition. In particular, Article 107 (3) TFEU lists certain aid types that in view of their effects the Commission may authorise. An example would be aid to promote culture, where such aid does not affect competition and trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. Article 106 (2) provides rules for undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest. These undertakings are subject to the rules contained in this Treaty, in particular to the rules on competition, insofar as the application of such rules does not de jure or de facto obstruct the performance of the particular tasks assigned to them. The development of trade must not be affected to such an extent as would be contrary to the interests of the European Union (Services of general interest).

... More information > - Public Service Broadcasting on this site
                                    - Services of General Interest on Europa
                                    - State aid control on Competition Portal

... Document >  - Application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting (2009)
                          - Protocol on the system of public broadcasting

State aid to cinema and TV productions

The specific criteria on which the Commission currently bases its assessment of State aid to cinema and TV programme production under the cultural derogation of Article 107 (3) d) TFEU were established in the Commission's decisional practice. These criteria were spelled out in the Commission Communication on ‘Certain legal aspects relating to cinematographic and other audiovisual works’ (Cinematographic and other audiovisual works), dated 2001 and extended until 31st December 2012.

... More information > Cinema  
... Documents > - Study on territorialisation - final report
                          - 2004 Follow-up Communication 
                          - 2007 Communication

                          - 2009 Communication

State aid to public service broadcasting

The application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting has to take into account a wide number of different elements, the main legal provisions being the Protocol on the system of public service broadcasting Amsterdam Protocol) and, Article 106(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the application of the rules of the Treaty and the competition rules, in particular, to Services of general economic interest. These rules are interpreted by the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. The Commission Communication on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting sets out the principles to be followed by the Commission in the application of the relevant Articles in the TFEU to State funding of public service broadcasting.

... More information >     - Public Service Broadcasting
                                        - Services of General Interest

                                        -  State aid control on Competition Portal
... Document >  - Protocol on the system of public broadcasting
- Communication on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting (2009)

Surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication

Surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication is prohibited by Article 9(a) of the AVMS Directive.  AVMSD (Article 1(1)(j)) defines surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication as "the representation in words or pictures of goods, services, the name, the trade mark or the activities of a producer of goods or a provider of services in programmes when such representation is intended by the media service provider to serve as advertising and might mislead the public as to its nature".  Such representation is considered to be intentional in particular if it is done in return for payment or for similar consideration.

... More information > - Commercial communications
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Documents > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)
                           - Commission interpretative Communication on Advertising

Switch-over / Switch-off

The migration process from analogue to digital broadcasting, starting with the introduction of digital and ending with the switch-off of analogue broadcasting; many routes are possible in terms of the speed and length of the process, the parties involved, and the degree of government intervention. The Commission has not proposed a mandatory common switch-off date nor did it prohibit the sale of analogue receivers. The Commission Communication on accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting proposed the deadline of 2012 for closure of analogue terrestrial TV broadcasting throughout the EU. The deadline has been endorsed by the Council and the Parliament. 

... Document > Accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting
 

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T

Technical Protection Measures (TPMs)

Technological protection measures (TPMs) are understood as measures to protect online content from being copied illicitly in the online environment. They are not to be confounded with Digital Rights Management systems (DRMs) that allow a broad range of management options.

... More information > - Content Online
                                     - Copyright on Internal Market Portal
... Document > Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC
 

Telecom package

The new regulatory framework consists of two Directives: the Better Regulation Directive - modifying the former Framework, Authorisation and Access Directives - and the Citizens' Rights Directive replacing the previous Universal Service and Privacy Directives. In addition, there is the Regulation establishing the European Telecoms Body (BEREC).

The package aims to ensure greater consumer choice through enhanced competition on Europe's telecom markets; better broadband coverage with higher speeds across Europe; and a more deeply embedded consumer right to privacy with regard to telecom operators. It also provides for such important rights as: the right to switch fixed or mobile operator in one working day while keeping the number; the right to be better informed about the services one subscribes to; and the right to be informed about data breaches from one's telecoms operator's system. Under the new rules, national telecoms authorities will have the power to set minimum quality levels for network transmission services so as to promote "net neutrality". In addition, European consumers will see their fundamental rights regarding internet access reaffirmed and strengthened.

The new framework was adopted on 24 November 2009, entering into force in December 2009. Member States must transpose its provisions by May 2011.
 

... More information > Legislation - Today's Framework -
                                  
 Telecom package on Europa

Telepromotion

Telepromotion is a form of television advertising based on the interruption of studio programmes (especially game shows) by slots devoted to the presentation of one or more products or services, where the programme presenters momentarily swap their role in the games in progress for one as “promoters” of the goods or services which are the object of the advertising presentation.

The Commission considers that telepromotions are compatible with the AVMS Directive, provided they are kept quite separate from other parts of the programme service by optical and/or acoustic means enabling viewers to readily recognise their commercial nature.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Teleshopping

Teleshopping means direct offers broadcast to the public with a view to the supply of goods or services, including immovable property, rights and obligations, in return for payment. The AVMSD permits different forms of teleshopping: Teleshopping Spots, Teleshopping windows and there are channels devoted to teleshopping, i.e. Teleshopping Channels.

To ensure a high level of consumer protection, teleshopping has to abide by the same rules as other audiovisual commercial communication such as television advertising (e.g. protection of minors, advertising on alcohol, medical products, tobacco). The European Court of Justice has in a judgment of 18 October 2007 offered some guidance on the conditions under which "Call-inTV" programmes could be considered as teleshopping or advertising. (Case C-195/06, Kommunikationsbehörde Austria (KommAustria) v Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF).

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Documents >   - Case C-195/06
                            -
Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Teleshopping channels

Teleshopping channels are channels exclusively devoted to Teleshopping without conventional programme elements such as news, sport, films, documentaries and drama. The general rules of the AVMS Directive (freedom of reception, protection of minors, consumer protection etc.) apply to such channels.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Teleshopping spots

Teleshopping spots are very similar to advertising spots. The difference is that teleshopping spots normally offer the possibility of ordering a product directly via telephone or Internet. They are subject to the same quantitative restrictions as advertising spots. The general principle is that Teleshopping spots should be fair, honest, not be misleading and must not impair children morally or physically (audiovisual commercial communication / Television Advertising and Minors).  Teleshopping spots should be clearly distinguishable as such and kept separate from other items by optical and/or acoustical means.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Teleshopping windows

Teleshopping windows have a longer duration than spots and according to Article 24a AVMSD should last at least 15 minutes. Each window must be clearly identified by optical and acoustical means at least at the beginning and the end of the window.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television Advertising

The AVMS Directive defines advertising in television as any form of announcement whether in return for payment or for similar consideration by a private or public undertaking in connection with trade, business, craft or profession in order to promote the supply of goods or services.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising: daily transmission time

The AVMSD has abolished limits of daily transmission time and only limits television advertising spots and teleshopping spots to 20 % within a given clock hour.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising and human dignity

The AVMSD prohibits television advertising that prejudices respect for human dignity, includes any discrimination on grounds of race, sex or nationality, is offensive to religious or political beliefs, encourages behaviour prejudicial to health or to safety or encourages behaviour prejudicial to the protection of the environment.

The AVMSD also prohibits discrimination based on ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Moreover, the prohibition on incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality applies to all audiovisual media services, thus including television advertising.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Document >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising and minors

According to the Audiovisual Media Service Directive (applying to any audiovisual media service), television advertising / audiovisual commercial communication shall not cause moral or physical detriment to minors. It must comply with the criteria for their protection. In particular, it shall not (1) directly exhort minors to buy a product or a service by exploiting their inexperience or credulity; (2) directly encourage minors to persuade their parents or others to purchase the goods or services being advertised; (3) exploit the special trust minors have in parents, teachers or other persons; (4) unreasonably show minors in dangerous situations

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document > -Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising: duration

The duration of television advertising means the maximum amount of daily or hourly transmission time that may be allocated to advertising and teleshopping.

The AVMS refers to maximum hourly time (20 %), deleting previous provisions on daily transmission time.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising for alcohol

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive (applying to all audiovisual media services) stipulates as basic rules that audiovisual commercial communication must not be aimed specifically at minors and shall not encourage immoderate consumption of such beverages (Article 9e). In addition, Article 22 (AVMSD) sets criteria to which television advertising and teleshopping for alcoholic beverages must comply..

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products

The AVMSD prohibits all forms of advertising for these products. This includes indirect forms of advertising which, whilst not directly mentioning the tobacco product, seek to circumvent the ban on advertising by using brand names, symbols or other distinctive features of tobacco products. This rule is extended to non linear services by the AVMSD and also applies for sponsoring (Article 10(2)).

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document > Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising for medicinal products

The AVMSD prohibits advertising for medicinal products and medical treatment available only on prescription (Article 9(f)). This rule is extended to on-demand audiovisual media services by the AVMSD.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document > - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television advertising: hourly amount

Article 23 of the AVMS Directive lays down that ““The proportion of television advertising spots and teleshopping spots within a given clock hour shall not exceed 20 %”. 

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
... Document >  - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television broadcaster

The AVMSD provides a definition of media service provider, covering the provisions of linear and non-linear services alike. He has the editorial responsibility for the "choice of the audiovisual content of the audiovisual media service and determines the manner in which it is organised" (Article 1(1)(d). "Broadcaster" is defined as a media service provider of television programmes (Article 1(1)(f)).

... More information > Regulatory framework
... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television broadcasting

The AVMS Directive defines television broadcasting as an "audiovisual media service" provided by a media service provider "for simultaneous viewing of programmes on the basis of a programme schedule" [Article 1(1)(e) AVMSD].

... More information > Regulatory framework
... Document >  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Television without Frontiers directive (TVwF Directive)

The TVwF Directive, adopted in 1989, aimed to create the conditions necessary for the free movement of television services within the Union and at the same time to preserve certain public interest objectives, such as Cultural diversity, right of reply, consumer protection and the protection of minors. It is also intended to promote the Distribution and production of European audiovisual programmes, for example by ensuring that they are given a majority position in television channels' programme schedules.

In June 1997, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the revised TVwF which aimed to ensure greater legal certainty and to update the initial rules.

The TVwF Directive, covering only television, was again revised in 2007 and became the Audiovisual Media Directive (AVMSD). The Member States had to transpose the new provisions into national law by 19 December 2009 – see AVMSD .

... More information > Regulatory framework - history
... Documents > Directive 97/36/EC (TVwF) - Directive 2007/65/EC (AVMSD) - Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD codified version)

Territorialisation of State aid

Some Member States require film producers receiving State aid to spend a specific proportion of the aid received or of the film budget in the territory of the supporting country. Under the Cinema Communication, the producer must be free to spend at least 20% of the film budget in other Member States without suffering any reduction in the aid provided for under the scheme. In other words, the Commission has until now accepted as an eligibility criteria territorialisation in terms of expenditure of up to 80% of the production budget of an aided film or TV work. In May 2008, a study on the economic and cultural impact, notably on co-productions, of territorialisation clauses of state aid schemes for films and audiovisual productions was published.

... More information > Cinema
... Document >  - Cinema Communication (2001)
                          - Cinema Communication follow-up (2004)
                          - Cinema Communication (2009 extension)
                          - Study on territorialisation

TRIPS - Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

The TRIPS Agreement which came into effect on 1 January 1995, is to date the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on trade-related intellectual property. The areas of intellectual property that it covers are notably copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organisations). Other areas include trademarks, as well as service marks; geographical indications including appellations of origin; industrial designs; patents including the protection of new varieties of plants; the layout-designs of integrated circuits; and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.

The TRIPS agreement is to be reviewed and possibly amended, according to its in-built agenda, and will therefore form part of the negotiations within the framework of the New Round in WTO.

... More information > TRIPS on this site
... External websites > TRIPS on WTO Website

  TVwF (TVwF Directive)

see Television without Frontiers directive

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U

UMTS

Universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) means a third-generation mobile and wireless communications system capable of supporting in particular innovative multimedia services, beyond the capability of second generation systems such as GSM, and capable of combining the use of terrestrial and satellite components.

UNCTAD - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Established in 1964, UNCTAD aims at the integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD is the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. It is a forum for intergovernmental discussions and meetings. It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection in order to provide substantive input for the discussions of experts and government representatives.  In co-operation with other organizations and donor countries, UNCTAD provides technical assistance tailored to the needs of the developing countries, with special attention being paid to the needs of the least developed countries, and countries with their economies in transition. UNCTAD regularly organizes seminars which are relevant for the audiovisual sector.

... External websites > UNCTAD

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNESCO, established in 1946, is a specialized Agency of the United Nations dealing especially with Education, Sciences and Culture. The purpose of the Organization is: "to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations’. UNESCO has developed substantive instruments in the area of cultural diversity, in particular the Universal Declaration and Action Plan on Cultural Diversity, adopted in November 2001.

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in Paris on 20 October 2005, aims to fill a legal vacuum in world governance by establishing a series of rights and obligations, at both national and international levels, with a view to the protection and promotion of cultural diversity. This instrument should play a similar role for cultural diversity — at the same normative level — as World International Property Organisation conventions, World Trade Organisation agreements, World Health Organisation agreements and Multilateral Environment Agreements. The Community ratified the Convention in December 2006 and the Convention entered into force on 18 March 2007.

... More information > - External Policy - UNESCO
                                    - UNESCO on Culture Portal  

... Document > - Convention on the Protection and Promotion
                            of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

... External websites > UNESCO.org

 

Universal Service

Universal service obligation means the provision of a defined minimum set of services to all end-users at an affordable price. The universal service obligations in the field of electronic communications networks and services are defined and regulated by the Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive).

... Document >  2002 Universal service directive

 

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V

V-Chip

The v-chip (violence chip) provides an internal mechanism that instructs the television receiver to select and to block out programmes which have particular triggering signals. Through this technology, already implemented in the USA and Canada, the intention was that parents could be effective gatekeepers, they could control the programmes watched by their children. Initially developed for analogue TV in the 1990s, a new version for digital TV was mandated in the USA in 2006. Despite of this, there is only a low usage reported, possibly only 15% of households, according to a 2004 survey. During the 1997 revision of the TVwF Directive one discussion point was whether a filtering system should be imposed in Europe. The Commission presented a study on "parental control of television broadcasting", which showed that for several reasons it would be difficult to introduce filtering systems, like V-Chip, in Europe.

... More information > Study on Parental Control of Television Broadcasting

Video Codec

A mechanism to compress and decompress video streams (MPEG 2, WM9, DivX, MPEG4, AVC/H.264, etc).

  Video games

Video games are games that are played on electronic platforms such as personal computers and video game consoles which enable interaction and to generate visual feedback. Meanwhile, there are various genres and types (offline / online, single-user/multi-user) of video games.

Video games are a new media genre, having become a mass and a cross-generation phenomenon, with a growing economic and social importance in Europe. The European Union is increasingly paying attention on the potential harmful effects of video games, in particular on minors.

Following a Council Resolution of 2002 and a survey of the Member States on the regulatory practice with unsuitable video games, in a Communication of 22 April 2008, the European Commission distilled principles and best practices on how young consumers can best be protected from harmful content. According to the survey mentioned, there are in 22 Member States age rating and classification systems in place (Germany and Lithuania apply specific systems). Amongst them, 20 Member States apply the self-regulatory "PEGI" system (Pan-European Games Information System). Most of the Member States have adopted specific legislation for video games. With PEGI Online, the PEGI system was extended to the growing online games sector, replying to the specific risks of the internet of a potentially unlimited distribution of harmful content.

... More information > Video games

 ... Documents > - 2002 Council Resolution
                           - 2008 Video games Communication

... External websites > - PEGI
                                     - PEGI Online

Video-on-demand

Video-on-demand is a system that enables viewers to order and see a given programme at the exact time the viewer specifies and requires two-way communication. Near-video-on-demand (NVOD) is a near equivalent using only one broadcast channel. This can be accomplished by staggering the start of a bouquet of programmes every 15 or 30 minutes. VOD is covered by the provisions of the new AVMS Directive [Art. 1a (g) AVMSD].

... More information > AVMSD
... Document > -  Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

Virtual advertising

Virtual advertising (or virtual “sponsorship" involves using virtual techniques for inserting advertisements during broadcasts of sporting events, in particular, by replacing existing advertising boards on the field or by superimposing new (e.g., three-dimensional) images.

The development of virtual advertising raises questions about the way in which it can be reconciled with the interests of rights holders and viewers in maintaining the integrity of the audiovisual work on the one hand and the ban on surreptitious advertising on the other. The Commission stated in the interpretative Communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the “Television without Frontiers” Directive to which extent this technique can comply with the Directive.

... More information > - Television advertising and teleshopping
                                   
- Study on the development of new advertising techniques
... Documents >  - Commission interpretative Communication on Advertising
                           Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD)

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W

Western Balkans

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Kosovo under UNSC Resolution 1244/99 are potential candidate countries to the European Union. From the point of view of audiovisual policy and the policy objective of intensifying relations with the Western Balkan region, fundamental principles governing the democratic functioning of the media, as essential elements of the Copenhagen criteria, are systematically addressed in parallel with the progressive alignment process with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

... More information > EU Enlargement

Wide-Screen Television / 16:9

Wide-screen television service means a television service that consists wholly or partially of programmes produced and edited to be displayed in a full height wide-screen format, whether analogue or digital. The 16:9 format is the reference format for wide-screen television services and is also an attribute of HDTV. All larger digital display panels (LCD, plasma) are in 16:9 format and increasingly have HD resolution. Wide-screen/HD displays are increasingly used on laptop and desktop PCs.

WIPO World Intellectual Property Organisation

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. Recently, two WIPO Treaties have been signed and are being ratified by the parties, addressing copyright in the digital age. Recent developments in WIPO concern the protection of audiovisual performers and the rights of broadcasting organisations.

... More information > WIPO on this site
... External websites > WIPO.int

WTO

The World Trade Organisation is the international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. The WTO Agreements, the legal ground rules for international trade, are negotiated and signed by the nations who are members of the WTO and have to be ratified by the national parliaments. Essentially, these agreements are contracts, guaranteeing member countries important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits to everybody’s benefit.

Under the WTO, a certain number of agreements relevant to culture and audiovisual matters have been drawn up, e.g. the GATS and TRIPS  agreements.

... More information > WTO on this site
... External websites > WTO.org

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