Unveiling its new Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Commission said it was updating the rules to create a fairer environment for all players.
Currently European TV broadcasters invest around 20% of their revenues in original content, compared to less than 1% for on demand providers. The Commission wants TV broadcasters to continue to dedicate at least half of viewing time to European works and will oblige on-demand providers to ensure at least 20% share of European content in their catalogues.
At the same time the new Directive clarifies rules that allow member states to ask on demand services available in their country to contribute financially to Europeans works.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “I want online platforms and the audiovisual and creative sectors to be powerhouses in the digital economy, not weigh them down with unnecessary rules. They need the certainty of a modern and fair legal environment: that is what we are providing today. It also means deregulating where necessary for traditional sectors like broadcasting, or extending certain obligations to platforms and other digital players to improve user protection and to reach a level-playing field.”
Also included is a deregulation of the TV advertising market. The overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time is maintained between 07.00 and 23.00, but instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day.
While there is the danger a viewer might opt for an ad free on demand service, broadcasters could equally choose to cram more advertising into the final episode of a popular drama.