Content industries are not only crucial to cultural diversity; they are also of paramount importance for the economy of the European Union. For instance, the audiovisual sector alone directly employs over one million people in the EU.
With the internet, media content, be it made of images, sound or written words can be distributed and accessed in a variety of ways and EU policy is evolving to reflect this new situation.
The development of on-line/digital publications concerns all sub-sectors of the publishing industry, like books, newspapers, magazines or even databases. eBooks for instance are taking a growing importance even if some factors such as interoperability, portability and cross-border availability still limit their consumption in Europe.
In the audiovisual field, the role of the European Union is to create a single European market for audiovisual media services. It is also required to take cultural aspects into account in all its policies.
The Commission also participates in the European Audiovisual Observatory, which aims to improve the transfer of information within the audiovisual industry and to promote a clearer view of the market and a greater transparency.