Insights | October 16, 2018

Parliament approves new rules for audiovisual media services

The European Parliament has voted to update the rules on Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU. The legislation will apply to broadcasters, video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms, and live streaming on video-sharing platforms. The amendments concern three aspects of audiovisual media services: i) protection of children and minors from harmful content, ii) advertising limitations, and iii) ensuring a certain share of European content on video-on-demand platforms.

Firstly, the new rules aim to protect children and minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising. To ensure this, audiovisual media services providers must provide appropriate measures to combat content which could incite violence, hatred and terrorism. Even stricter rules will apply to content inciting gratuitous violence and pornography. Video-sharing platforms will therefore be responsible to react quickly to harmful content. At the request of the Parliament, the platforms will also need to create a mechanism to allow users to report or flag harmful content.

The rules on advertising and product placement in children’s TV programs and video-on-demand platforms were also tightened and the protection of children’s personal data enhanced.

Secondly, the Parliament agreed that advertising can take up a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting time between 06:00 and 18:00. This limit also applies to prime-time between 18:00 and 24:00.

Thirdly, Member States shall ensure that media service providers of on-demand audiovisual media services under their jurisdiction secure at least a 30 % share of European works in their catalogues and ensure prominence of those works.

The video-on-demand platforms should also contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions. Platforms can invest in content or contribute to national funds. The contributions should be proportional to the on-demand revenues in that specific country. There are also updates related to accessibility, the integrity of a broadcaster’s signal and the promotion of media literacy skills.

Next, the Council of the European Union will give its decision on the proposal. If approved, the revisions will enter into force. The Member States will then have 21 months to implement the amendments into national legislation.