What is it about?

Digital distribution is the delivery of audiovisual products through digital means, usually via the internet, instead of using physical media, such as paper, CDs or DVDs.

Why is it needed?

Advances in digital technology have revolutionised media consumption in recent years.

Digital music consumption (e.g. streaming and downloading) is well established, and user demand is driving similar developments in the film, TV and video gaming sectors.

As formats and equipment evolve, people are increasingly able to access and create a wide range of content digitally. This offers advantages for organisations and individuals, but also introduces new risks and challenges.

What is the EC's role?

The Commission's role is to:

  • support and protect users and owners of media content
  • ensure that intellectual property rights are fair for all
  • promote the growth of digital distribution

This is done by:

  • liaising with stakeholders
  • developing new policies
  • encouraging the adoption of appropriate laws across the EU
  • providing training and support for the creative sector via the Creative Europe programme

What has been achieved so far?

Before Creative Europe, the Commission ran the MEDIA programme from 2007-2013, providing €755 million of support to the audiovisual industry, including funds earmarked to promote the digital distribution of films.

The Commission also held a public consultation on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the EU and set up the MEDIA Films Database to showcase award winning films which received support under MEDIA.

What are the next steps?

The Commission will continue to support audiovisual projects and digital distribution through the Creative Europe programme.

It will also support digital distribution through the development of evidence based policies in the sector, as well as through regulatory reform .

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