The revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive creates a media framework for the 21st century.

On 6 November 2018, the Council adopted the revised AVMS directive. This is the final step in the legislative process (press release). The European Parliament had adopted its report on the Provision of audiovisual media services on 2 October 2018 (press release).

The revision of the Directive was proposed by the Commission in May 2016 and, since then, it has been subject of intense negotiations between the co-legislators. With the Commission's support, these negotiations were concluded with the informal agreement on the proposed rules reached on 6 June 2018.

What is new in the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)?

  • A strengthened Country of Origin Principle (which states that providers only need to abide by the rules of a Member State rather than in multiple countries) with more clarity on which Member State's rules apply, aligned derogation procedures for both TV broadcasters and on-demand service providers as well as possibilities for derogations in the event of public security concerns and serious risks to public health.
  • Certain audiovisual rules extend to video sharing platforms: services such as YouTube as well as audiovisual content shared on social media services, such as Facebook, are covered by the revised Directive.
  • Better protection of minors against harmful content in the online world: the new rules strenghthen the protection on video-on-demand services and extend the obligation to protect minors also to video-sharing platforms, which need now to put in place appropriate measures.
  • Reinforced protection on TV and video on demand against incitement to violence or hatred and public provocation to commit terrorist offences. Video-sharing platforms are also required to take appropriate measures to protect people from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences.
  • Increased obligations to promote European works for on-demand services who need to have at least a 30% share of European content in their catalogue and to ensure the prominence of this content.
  • More flexibility in television advertising. Instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day, with an overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time is maintained between 6:00 to 18:00 and the same share allowed during prime time (from 18:00 to midnight).
  • Strenghtened provisions to protect children from inappropriate audiovisual commercial communications for foods high in fat, salt and sodium and sugars, including by encouraging codes of conduct at EU level, where necessary. Video-sharing platforms also have to respect certain obligations for the commercial communications they are responsible for and to be transparent about commercial communications that are declared by the users when uploading content that contains such commercial communications.
  • Independence of audiovisual regulators is reinforced in EU law by ensuring that they are legally distinct from their government and functionally independent from the government and any other public or private body.

Background

The media landscape has shifted dramatically in less than a decade. Instead of sitting in front of the family TV, millions of Europeans, especially young people, watch content online, on demand and on different mobile devices. Global internet video share in consumer internet traffic is expected to increase from 64% in 2014 to 80% by 2019.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the Commission proposed a revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive in May 2016 that included a new approach to online platforms disseminating audiovisual content. The EU's current Audiovisual Media Services Directive governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services.

The European Commission organised a public consultation to seek the views of all interested parties on how to make Europe's audiovisual media landscape fit for purpose in the digital age. The consultation took place from July to September 2015. The document is available in all EU languages. Read more details on the contributions, the synopsis the announcement and questions & answers regarding the public consultation.

What happens next?

The directive will enter into force on the 20th day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member States will have 21 months to transpose it into national legislations.

For More Information

Useful links

Follow the legislative process on OEIL (the European Parliament's database for monitoring the EU decision-making process)