Amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive agreed.

The European Parliament, Council and Commission recently announced that they have reached preliminary political agreement on the principal revisions to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (“AVMSD“). The negotiations will officially end in June this year when the remaining technical details of the proposal will be finalised.

The AVMSD defines the audiovisual media services regulatory framework within the EU and the proposals aim to address societal shifts in this sector including the increase of Europeans, especially younger generations, watching video content online or on-demand.

Minimum 30% quota for subscription video on-demand services

A key objective of the directive has been the promotion of European works and this is reflected in the new proposal. This rule imposes an obligation on subscription video on-demand service providers to ensure that at least 30% of works on their platform will be European. This 30% quota is likely to apply to all relevant service providers who offer their services within EU member states, including the likes of Netflix.

The minimum 30% quota corresponds to the European Council recommendation seen last year and calls from certain member states, including Greece, Spain and France, who proposed that the level be raised from the 20% quota initially proposed by the EU Commission. The proposal aligns with the EU aim to protect European content from the raft of Hollywood and US shows available.

Proposed changes

Along with the promotion of European works and the introduction of the 30% quota other key amendments include:

• Reinforcing the independence of audiovisual regulators;
• Revised “Country of Origin” principle;
• Strengthened protection of minors against harmful content (TV or VOD);
• Extension of certain European audiovisual rules to video-sharing platforms;
• Increasing flexibility in television advertising rules; and
• Alignment of rules prohibiting hate speech.

We will as ever keep you up to date with developments in this area.