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

On 6 June 2018, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission confirmed the preliminary political agreement reached on 26 April 2018 on the revised rules that will apply to audiovisual media across Europe.

The revised rules will strengthen the country of origin principle and extend the European audiovisual rules to video-sharing platforms. They will ensure a better protection of minors against harmful content, and include stronger rules against hate speech and public provocation to commit terrorist offences. Furthermore, they will enhance the promotion of European works, ensure more flexibility in television advertising and reinforce the independence of audiovisual regulators.

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 negotions 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 in each case, and the same 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.
  • Better protection of minors against harmful content whether on TV or video-on-demand services. The new rules envisage that video-sharing platforms put appropriate measures in place to protect minors.
  • European audiovisual rules extended to video-sharing platforms. The revised Directive will also apply to user-generated videos shared on social media platforms when providing audiovisual content is an essential functionality of the service.
  • Stronger rules against hate speech and public provocation to commit terrorist offences that prohibit such content in audiovisual media services. The rules will also apply to video-sharing platforms to protect people from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences.
  • Promoting European works in on-demand catalogues with at least a 30% share of European content.
  • More flexibility in television advertising. The revised rules give broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown – the overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time is maintained between 6:00 to 18:00. Instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day.
  • Independence of audiovisual regulators will be 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 formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament, to take place later in 2018.

For More Information

Useful links

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