The targeted consultation took place between 24 February and 13 March 2020. It was conducted in the context of the implementation of Article 1, letter (aa) and Recital 5 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, on the practical application of the essential functionality criterion of the definition of video sharing platform services. The objective of the consultation was to gather the views of stakeholders on some specific technical issues relevant in this context. The Member States have been consulted separately in the context of the Contact Committee.

Download the report as a pdf

Objectives of the consultation

According to Recital 5 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, in order to ensure clarity, effectiveness and consistency of implementation, the Commission should issue guidelines, after consulting the Contact Committee, on the practical application of the essential functionality criterion of the definition of a ‘video-sharing platform service’.
The Commission has consulted the Contact Committee on possible approaches on several occasions. It also organised a dedicated public hearing with stakeholders, to which Contact Committee representatives were invited.
The present consultation aims to complement the process by gathering stakeholders’ input on specific technical issues.

Who replied to the consultation?

There were 31 respondents, including 12 companies or business organisations, 13 business associations, 2 public authorities, 1 NGO, 1 EU citizen and 2 from the category ‘other’.*  Some of the responses were sent outside the EU Survey tool by email.

* 27 contributions were made through a questionnaire in EU Survey and 4 stakeholders forwarded seperately an answer to the consultation.

The majority of contributions (27) came from  Member States, and 4 replies came from non-EU contries (2 from the United Kingdom and 1 from respectively the United States of America and North Macedonia).  

Figure 1: Distribution of consultation responses by type of respondent

of the 31 respondents, 12 were companies or business organisations, 13 business associations, 2 public authorities, 1 NGO, 1 EU citizen and 2 from the category ‘other’

Preliminary findings observed in the replies

Without prejudice to the in-depth analysis of the replies, we can observe the following overall trends*: 

* The written contributions have been analysed by the Audiovisual and Media Services Policy Unit in order to provide a preliminary analysis of the main trends.

A significant share of respondents (respectively 18, 13, 15 and 16 in each of the four clusters of indicators) considered the indicators presented in the questionnaire as pertinent for the assessment of the existence of the essential functionality. The majority of respondents (22 respondents) put forward specific suggestions or additional criteria and in relation to different aspects, but suggestions are too diverse in this case to identify clear trends. 
Several respondents specifically called for an approach based on non-cumulative and flexible rather than compulsory indicators. In their view, the adoption of absolute/mechanic criteria could imply a high risk of circumvention. Therefore, such flexibility was seen as necessary to address the dynamic reality of the platform environment. Two respondents specifically supported the need to involve the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) in the process of determining whether a platform is a video-sharing platform service, in order to foster common and harmonised practices across Member States.

Next steps

The Commission services have been carrying out a deeper analysis of the replies received (.xls) with a view to finalising the text and further consulting the Contact Committee. The Commission will adopt the guidelines in the course of 2020.