Update on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive
In April 2017 the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education voted to amend the proposal for an updated EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). In May 2017, the Council reached a General Approach on the revised version of the AVMSD. However, whilst a General Approach was reached, a number of countries have raised a variety of concerns. Two examples are: (a) whether the AVMSD in its current form provides regulation for the proposed widened scope that can be applied in practice; and (b) the broadening of the services caught by the requirement to financially support European Works.
(a) The scope of the AVMSD is to be amended so that certain provisions also apply to video sharing platforms. The aim is to harmonise the regulation of broadcast services and video sharing platforms in certain areas however there are differences in the way that the two types of services are operated and managed in practice. There is consensus that users should be protected from content inciting violence, hatred or terrorism irrespective of the platform on which it appears. It is questioned however whether this can be achieved in practice by applying the same regulations to both. For YouTube, and other social media platforms, there are mechanisms in place for users to flag and report content, but, consideration needs to be given as to whether the Directive in its current form can apply to all the services which will now fall into the widened scope of the Directive.
(b) A Member State which is either the country of origin (Country Of Origin) of a work or the country where the targeted audience of the work is located (Country of Destination) will now have the ability to levy financial contributions for European Works. Under the original proposed text the levy could be imposed on "on-demand audiovisual media services". Under the General Approach this has been extended to "media service providers" which would also now capture linear channels. Although support for European Works should benefit the audiovisual production industry and contributions in the Country of Destination should take into account contributions in the Country of Origin, there is still some concern that where media service providers are required to contribute in both the Country of Origin and the Country of Destination this may restrict the investment in and availability of content due to the potential additional financial burden.
Although a General Approach has been reached, concerns still remain. We will be keeping an eye out for what happens next.