Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Food for thought: (provoking) ideas from the online community at large


As the Digital Agenda Assembly approaches, I've talked to many of you privately or on different platforms and you have come forward with lots of different stimuli for the European Commission. So I have decided to summarise here the main ideas, opinions and suggestions I have been collecting, confident that in some cases these will generate intense reactions.

Please, feel free to share your views by commenting or by adding to the discussion!

  • following the French ( and Belgian  ( examples, European governments should require big media companies to invest more in Europe and to employ locally;
  • following Barroso's call for EU-wide exchange of income data as part of the fight against tax evasion (, the EU should put their foot down when it comes to international media corporations paying their taxes. While the British Parliament is making a big case around Google's alleged tax avoidance ( and, the general sentiment is that big companies are not paying their fair share and that they are taking from the system, but not paying into it accordingly. However, views are generally devided as to whether it is a compliance issue or one of unfit rules;
  • governments should get/stay out of the TV business: we moved from content scarcity to over abundance. This means the market has become highly fragmented, thus making more difficult for any producer to generate profit. However, at this stage, fragmentation is a sign that the markets are healthy: it creates new opportunities for newcomers and it strips incumbents from margins. This might eventually prevent producers from experimenting with new content, but the at that stage the market will have changed again, killing those producers who are not capable of staying in business. Governments cannot and should not avoid this;
  • TV is going to be more and more a global industry, therefore there is urgent need for coherent cross-border standards, both in terms of technology and rules;
  • government has to be as agile as the market, both to quickly react to abuse and to correct if regulation is having a negative affect because of flawed implementation or market changes;
  • producers who have the funding to invest in the promotion of their content across multiple media will control the market: large media companies will shift their focus from owning distribution to owning and controlling cross platform promotion of their properties. So governments cannot track or even understand the changes taking place in media;
  • promoting corporate transparency – this is felt especially important because media companies deal with information;
  • private sector should finance television, rather than governments: while in some countries (i.e. Germany) innovations in television are rapidly moving ahead due to government participation, what most governments probably should do is to provide innovation grants to help spur innovation.
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Colum Joyce's picture

Slavishly trying to replicate US business models undermines creativity and innovation in the EU We should invest far more in the business model and not just the platforms etc of the digital economy

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Annalisa De Luca's picture

Colum, do you see a public role in facilitating and encouraging investments in new business models?

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Colum Joyce's picture

Most certainly.

Take here in Ireland: If you sell physical products the turnover threshold for having to declare / charge VAT is €74,000 .
For digital / services it is only €35,000. ABSOLUTE LUNACY.
How does that encourage the Digital economy? The information society etc?

1) There should be direct public support for skills development far closer to the business community.
2) Individual Business communities should be ASKED what they want courses / support on.
3) There should be business model innovation support not the sexed up "Cash for Techno Bling" focus of today
4) Support application processes should be simplified
5) Every supported project should have to report on results
6) Public authorities should engage in joined up thinking

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Daniel Brookes's picture

what you say about VAT mechanisms, I agree. government people always talk about subsidies or free grants but that is pure propaganda, sometimes even ignorance on behalf of the people who propose it. subsidies and free grants are not allowed in the EU. people in government need to be more creative and know how the ecosystem works bettter.

also, why not a single vat system throughout europe? i know that goes beyond the scope of the European Union but desperate times call for desperate measures!

@njoyccol, could you explain me what you mean "There should be business model innovation support"? how is that achieved?

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