The European Commission considers the audiovisual sector as vital to safeguarding Europe’s cultural diversity and sovereignty. Therefore, the EU supports the industry in order to increase the general level of media literacy, to strengthen the sector and make it more competitive, and to increase the distribution of audiovisual works across borders in Europe and beyond.
Current challenges of the audiovisual sector
The sector - film, broadcasting (tv/radio), video and multimedia activities - has gone through rapid changes due to the technological and digital revolutions of the past decade that have reshaped how audiovisual content is produced, distributed and consumed.
This changing pace of technology has created a number of opportunities, as well as challenges, especially the need for professionals to develop new digital skills to improve the quality of the content and to increase the access of audiences to it.
In addition, the availability of a far wider array of information sources may increase citizens’ exposure to misleading or outright false information. This situation therefore represents a major challenge for democracy in the European Union.
The European Commission 's role
To address these challenges the Commission supports a variety of actions:
EU’s Multimedia Actions
These actions aim to strengthen news reporting on EU affairs from pan-European points of view, for instance by comparing different viewpoints present within Europe.
- Find out more about the EU's multimedia actions
The main goal is to improve the capacity of citizens of all ages to access media and develop a critical understanding and command of media. This includes the capability to navigate through modern news environment and take informed decisions.
- Find out more about media literacy
Aiming to implement a clear, comprehensive and broad set of actions to tackle the spread and impact of online disinformation in Europe and ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems.
- Find out more about disinformation
The Creative Europe MEDIA programme
The programme supports the European film and other audiovisual industries. Since 1991, MEDIA has been supporting the sector with a series of measures such as
- trainings for professionals
- development of film and videogames
- distribution of audiovisual works
- support to festivals, markets, cinemas and audience development projects
Creative Europe MEDIA also includes measures to support cooperation between European and international audiovisual professionals.
The Commission also coordinates policymaking, research, dialogue with stakeholders, expert groups and reporting on each of the actions, as well as fostering cooperation between Member States.
- Find out more about the Creative Europe MEDIA programme
The Commission has carried out a variety of studies, reports, and data-gathering exercises to improve the body of evidence at its disposal for policymaking. It has also worked on several directives and action plans addressing the new digital challenges, among which
- The reviewed Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD): to adapt the sector to the digital context and to introduce a more level playing field for broadcasters, VOD providers and video-sharing platforms. The directive also strengthens the promotion of cultural diversity by introducing clear obligations for on-demand services to have at least a 30% share of European content in their catalogue and to ensure the prominence of this content.
- The Copyright Directive: to modernise the rules and make them fit for the digital age, as well as to protect authors and performers who are at the heart of content creation
- The Cross-border portability regulation: to broaden access to online content services for travellers in the European Union
- The Action Plan to step up a coordinated response to counter disinformation
Regarding Creative Europe MEDIA, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy, the Juncker Commission put cinema and the audiovisual sector high on its political and legislative agenda to bring tangible benefits to filmmakers and creators. This resulted in bigger access to more films, TV series and other audiovisual works across borders.
What are the next steps?
The Commission will continue to support the sector at all levels. More in particular, Creative Europe MEDIA will continue under a new multi-annual financial framework from 2021 to 2027 with a reinforced budget and stronger actions focusing on supporting the industry to increase collaboration across borders, to embrace innovation, new technologies and new business models, and to put audiences at front.