Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Promotion and Distribution of European Works

Article
The AVMS Directive wants to strengthen the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry and thus promote cultural diversity and heritage in Europe. A substantial section is on regulating promotion and distribution of audiovisual works.
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What are the general rules?

Member States are required by the Directive to promote European works, both in linear and in on-demand audiovisual media services.

The Directive requires broadcasters to reserve a majority proportion of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, for European works (art 16). It also provides that on-demand audiovisual media services will promote the production of and access to European works. Such promotion could be carried out, amongst others, through financial contributions to the production and rights acquisition of European works or by ensuring a share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programmes (art 13).

For on-demand services, Member States have taken very diverse approaches, ranging from very extensive and detailed measures to mere reference to the general obligation to promote European works in their national legislation. A document presenting a summary of those approaches has been published by the European Commission in July 2014.

What are "European works"?

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive provides a legal definition of “European works” (art. 1); it ensures that European works are only audiovisual productions which are:

  • works originating in Member States;
  • works originating in European third States party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe and fulfilling the three conditions detailed in paragraph 3;
  • works co-produced within the framework of agreements concluded between the EU and third countries and fulfilling the conditions defined in those agreements.

Article 1(4) spells out that productions which are not "European works" but are made in the framework of bilateral co-production agreements concluded between Member States and third countries will be treated as European works provided that the Union co-producers supply a majority share of the production costs and the production is not controlled by the producer from the third country.

Independent productions

Article 17 requires broadcasters to reserve a minimum proportion (at least 10%) of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, for European works created by independent producers. Alternatively, Member States may require broadcasters to allocate at least 10% of their programme budget to independent productions. An adequate proportion of works by independent producers should be recent, i.e. less than five years old.

Some flexibility is allowed for the implementation of Articles 13, 16 and 17 since Member States must ensure the promotion of European and independent works "where practicable".

The reports

For broadcasting services, the Commission has to report every two years on the application of the provisions concerning European works and independent productions on the basis of statistical data provided by the Member States (Articles 16 and 17).

For on-demand services, Article 13 sets out an obligation for the Member States to report on the implementation of the provisions to the Commission every four years.

The Guidelines

The "Revised Guidelines for Monitoring the Application of Articles 16 and 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive" of July 2011 are intended to help Member States with the monitoring of the implementation of Articles 16 and 17.