Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Promotion and Distribution of European Works

Article
The AVMS Directive wants to strengthen the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry and thus promote cultural diversity and heritage in Europe. A substantial section is on regulating promotion and distribution of audiovisual works.

What are the general rules?

Member States are required by the Directive to promote European works, both in linear and in on-demand audiovisual media services.

The Directive requires broadcasters to reserve a majority proportion of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, for European works (art 16). It also provides that on-demand audiovisual media services will promote the production of and access to European works. Such promotion could be carried out, amongst others, through financial contributions to the production and rights acquisition of European works or by ensuring a share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programmes (art 13).

For on-demand services, Member States have taken very diverse approaches, ranging from very extensive and detailed measures to mere reference to the general obligation to promote European works in their national legislation. A document presenting a summary of those approaches has been published by the European Commission in July 2014.

What are "European works"?

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive provides a legal definition of “European works” (art. 1); it ensures that European works are only audiovisual productions which are:

  • works originating in Member States;
  • works originating in European third States party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe and fulfilling the three conditions detailed in paragraph 3;
  • works co-produced within the framework of agreements concluded between the EU and third countries and fulfilling the conditions defined in those agreements.

Article 1(4) spells out that productions which are not "European works" but are made in the framework of bilateral co-production agreements concluded between Member States and third countries will be treated as European works provided that the Union co-producers supply a majority share of the production costs and the production is not controlled by the producer from the third country.

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Article 1(4)

Works that are not European works within the meaning of point (n) of paragraph 1 but that are produced within the framework of bilateral co-production agreements concluded between Member States and third countries shall be deemed to be European works provided that the co-producers from the Union supply a majority share of the total cost of production and that the production is not controlled by one or more producers established outside the territory of the Member States.

Independent productions

Article 17 requires broadcasters to reserve a minimum proportion (at least 10%) of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, for European works created by independent producers. Alternatively, Member States may require broadcasters to allocate at least 10% of their programme budget to independent productions. An adequate proportion of works by independent producers should be recent, i.e. less than five years old.

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Article 17

Member States shall ensure, where practicable and by appropriate means, that broadcasters reserve at least 10 % of their transmission time, excluding the time allotted to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, or alternately, at the discretion of the Member State, at least 10 % of their programming budget, for European works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters. This proportion, having regard to the broadcaster’s informational, educational, cultural and entertainment responsibilities to its viewing public, should be achieved progressively, on the basis of suitable criteria. It must be achieved by earmarking an adequate proportion for recent works, that is to say works transmitted within 5 years of their production.

 

Some flexibility is allowed for the implementation of Articles 13, 16 and 17 since Member States must ensure the promotion of European and independent works "where practicable".

The reports

For broadcasting services, the Commission has to report every two years on the application of the provisions concerning European works and independent productions on the basis of statistical data provided by the Member States.

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Article 16

  1. Member States shall ensure, where practicable and by appropriate means, that broadcasters reserve for European works a majority proportion of their transmission time, excluding the time allotted to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping. This proportion, having regard to the broadcaster’s informational, educational, cultural and entertainment responsibilities to its viewing public, should be achieved progressively, on the basis of suitable criteria.
  2. Where the proportion laid down in paragraph 1 cannot be attained, it must not be lower than the average for 1988 in the Member State concerned.However, in respect of Greece and Portugal, the year 1988 shall be replaced by the year 1990.
  3. Member States shall provide the Commission every 2 years, starting from 3 October 1991, with a report on the application of this Article and Article 17.

That report shall in particular include a statistical statement on the achievement of the proportion referred to in this Article and Article 17 for each of the television programmes falling within the jurisdiction of the Member State concerned, the reasons, in each case, for the failure to attain that proportion and the measures adopted or envisaged in order to achieve it.

The Commission shall inform the other Member States and the European Parliament of the reports, which shall be accompanied, where appropriate, by an opinion. The Commission shall ensure the application of this Article and Article 17 in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Commission may take account in its opinion, in particular, of progress achieved in relation to previous years, the share of first broadcast works in the programming, the particular circumstances of new television broadcasters and the specific situation of countries with a low audiovisual production capacity or restricted language area.

Article 17

Member States shall ensure, where practicable and by appropriate means, that broadcasters reserve at least 10 % of their transmission time, excluding the time allotted to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, or alternately, at the discretion of the Member State, at least 10 % of their programming budget, for European works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters. This proportion, having regard to the broadcaster’s informational, educational, cultural and entertainment responsibilities to its viewing public, should be achieved progressively, on the basis of suitable criteria. It must be achieved by earmarking an adequate proportion for recent works, that is to say works transmitted within 5 years of their production.

 

For on-demand services, Article 13 sets out an obligation for the Member States to report on the implementation of the provisions to the Commission every four years.

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Article 13

  1. Member States shall ensure that on-demand audiovisual media services provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction promote, where practicable and by appropriate means, the production of and access to European works. Such promotion could relate, inter alia, to the financial contribution made by such services to the production and rights acquisition of European works or to the share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programmes offered by the on-demand audiovisual media service.
  2. Member States shall report to the Commission no later than 19 December 2011 and every 4 years thereafter on the implementation of paragraph 1.
  3. The Commission shall, on the basis of the information provided by Member States and of an independent study, report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of paragraph 1, taking into account the market and technological developments and the objective of cultural diversity.

The Guidelines

The "Revised Guidelines for Monitoring the Application of Articles 16 and 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive" of July 2011 are intended to help Member States with the monitoring of the implementation of Articles 16 and 17.

Last updated on 11/05/2016 - 10:56