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Regulatory Framework - Audiovisual Media Services Directive - what's new ?avms

 Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive amends and renames the Television without Frontiers Directive, providing less detailed but more flexible regulation. And it modernises TV advertising rules to better finance audiovisual content.

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   What's new?

dotWider coverage (Article 1 (1)(a))   

The new Directive covers all audiovisual media services - that means traditional television (linear service) and video-on-demand (non-linear services). These services must be directed at the general public and intended to inform, entertain and educate under the editorial responsibility of a media service provider.

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dotDifferent levels of strictness (“graduated regulation”)

Because users have different degrees of choice and control over on-demand audiovisual media services, only a basic tier of rules applies to them. But the rules on advertising and protecting children are stricter for television broadcasts.  

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dotJurisdiction for satellite broadcasts (Article 2)

When a broadcaster based outside the EU uses a satellite up-link in an EU country, that country will have jurisdiction. Only when there is no up-link in the EU, does the EU country whose satellite capacity is used gain jurisdiction. This reverses the criteria defining jurisdiction under the old rules.

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dotWhich country’s rules apply?

As under the old rules, service providers are subject only to the rules applicable in their own country (country of origin principle). This is essential to give them legal certainty and help them develop new cross border business models. 

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dotCountries can restrict broadcast of unsuitable content (Article 2 (4)-(6))

Under the new rules, EU countries can restrict the retransmission of unsuitable on-demand audiovisual content - e.g. neo-Nazi propaganda – that may not be banned in its country of origin.

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dotTwo-step safeguard for receiving countries (Article 4 (2) – (5))

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dot Transparency obligations for editorial decisions (Article 5)

All audiovisual media service providers must indicate all the relevant data needed to ensure that whoever makes the editorial decisions can be held liable. 

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dot Definition of audiovisual commercial communication (Article 1(1)(h))

The new rules have a broad definition of what constitutes advertising, including sponsorship, product placement, teleshopping, etc.

This is to ensure that all forms of commercial audiovisual content are covered by the same common set of rules, whatever mode of delivery is used for the programmes to which they are associated.

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dotShort news reporting (Article 15)

In order to promote the free flow of information, any broadcaster established in the EU has guaranteed access to exclusively transmitted events of high public interest for the purpose of transmitting short news reports.   

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dotPromoting European works (Article 13)

Member States must ensure that not only television broadcasters but also on-demand audiovisual media services promote European works. 

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dotProduct placement (Article 11)

The new rules define the conditions under which product placement is permitted (e.g. which programmes; identification requirement; no undue prominence, etc). Member countries are free to adopt stricter rules for media companies under their jurisdiction, provided that those rules comply with EU law. 

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dotTelevision advertising

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dotAdvertising "unhealthy" food and drinks in children's programmes (Article 9 (2))

Governments and the Commission must encourage media service providers to develop codes of conduct curtailing such advertising.

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dotProtecting children from adult content (Article 12)

Content which might seriously impair children’s development may be made available only in ways that ensure children will not normally have access – e.g. with access codes or other means.

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dotAccess for the sight- and/or hearing impaired (Article 7)

The new rules aim to make audiovisual content increasingly accessible for these groups. Governments must encourage media companies under their jurisdiction to do this, e.g. by subtitling and audio description.

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dotSelf-regulation, combined with government regulation (Article 4 (7))

The new rules require governments to encourage self-regulation in certain fields, sometimes combined with government intervention (“co-regulation”) - where their legal systems allow. Such regimes must be broadly accepted by the main stakeholders and provide for effective enforcement.

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dotIndependent regulators (Article 30)

The new rules recognise both the existence and the role of national independent regulators. To ensure the correct application of the Directive, these regulators must cooperate closely both among themselves and with the Commission, notably on issues of jurisdiction. 

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