Two years after the European Commission introduced new rules on the broadcast of TV over the internet, video on demand and mobile TV, just three countries have officially notified the Commission that they had been put in place.
Countries within the European Union were given until December 19, 2009 to put the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive) – the successor to Television Without Frontiers – into place, but only Belgium, Romania and Slovakia have done so.
“Two years ago, industry and consumers were already waiting impatiently for new, more flexible EU rules that remove outdated bureaucratic red tape and take account of new technological developments,” said Viviane Reding, EU Information Society and Media Commissioner. “We updated the EU TV rules to make Europe’s audiovisual industry more competitive. I urgently call on EU countries to adapt their national laws to ensure that new advertising techniques enabled by the AVMS Directive are also possible – there can be no excuse for any more delay with their implementation. The Commission will not shy away from using its powers under the Treaty to ensure this happens effectively”.
While Belgium, Romania and Slovakia have informed the Commission of full implementation, some limited measures have been taken by Denmark, France, Luxembourg and the UK, while the directive has been partly put in place by Austria, Germany, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands without the Commission being notified. In other countries the law is still under discussion, while in Hungary the process came to a halt after parliament failed to pass the bill.
The AVMS directive covers the regulation of on demand services including advertising quotas. Another key point is the treatment of channels that broadcast to other European countries from a separate country of origin. Product placement is also a sensitive issue contained within the directive.
The European Court of Justice has said many of the rules can apply directly from December 19, 2009, and both businesses and consumers can act upon them.