Directive on AV media services adopted

On 6 November 2018, the Council of Ministers formally approved the trialogue agreement on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

Despite the approval now also in the Council, the cep sticks to its criticism of the Directive. Among other things, the agreed quota for video platforms is criticised, as it is a massive encroachment on the sovereignty of customers. If, in future, video-on-demand services such as Netflix require at least 30% of the available content to consist of European works, this is a strong encroachment on entrepreneurial freedom. Such a quota must be firmly rejected. Such quotas are unacceptable in a market economy. They are either ineffective if they fall short of users' actual demand, or patronising if they exceed it. In the latter case, providers are forced to spend money on services that their customers do not want to consume. In the case of video-on-demand services in particular, the quota ignores the fact that many of these services have gained their popularity precisely by offering non-European works which were not broadcast to the same extent by private or public broadcasters. Instead of seeing this as evidence of the inadequacy of quotas, it now applies to video-on-demand providers as well.

The revised AVMSD now also stipulates that between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. television stations may use a total of 20% of transmission time for advertising purposes. They may distribute the 20% thus freely on the twelve hours. Until now, a strict 12 minute per hour rule applied here. For the period between 18 o'clock and 24 o’clock, then again 20% of the transmission time is to be used for advertisement. From cep's point of view, the planned relaxation of the restrictions on permitted advertising time on television does not go far enough. Advertising revenues are a central source of income for many private television stations in particular. However, the advertising restrictions of the Directive limit the revenue opportunities of many television stations. The cep would have liked to see the advertising restrictions completely abolished. After all, every user can switch to another media service provider at any time if advertising bothers him.

The Member States now have 21 months to implement the directive.