EBU position on this issue

  • Promote an open, diverse and vibrant audiovisual media sector in Europe
  • Prominence of public service content on different audiovisual platforms
  • Balanced rules across all platforms and services amidst media convergence

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What is at stake?

Audiovisual programmes can encompass particular values, identity and meaning that go beyond their strictly commercial value. The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the legal framework that establishes the fundamental principles for a safe, pluralistic and open audiovisual media landscape in Europe. It is currently under review at EU level to adapt it to TV and video viewing trends in the digital age.

Our goal as public service media (PSM) is to ensure that ‘free-to-air’ content of public value remains easily found and accessed by audiences, and that it continues playing a central role in stimulating the European creative economy and cultural diversity. Ensuring access and findability of PSM programming in a converging world is crucial for the preservation of open, balanced and informed debate on important issues shaping society.


“We want to ensure that viewers are always aware that a rich offer of public interest programming is available, and just a click or push of a button away.”

Nicola Frank
Head of European Affairs

Prominence approach for all platforms                   

PSM play a central role in democratic societies by providing a means to inform citizens, shape public opinion and offer a window to the world. Prominence – or findability as it is often called – is a crucial principle to ensure citizens are sufficiently aware of public service content and other content of particular value to society.

Intermediaries affect the access, visibility and findability of programmes and channels by determining the positioning of the opening screens or the search options. In an online environment, there is a risk that audiovisual platform operators will focus on driving viewers towards content that suits their commercial interests to the detriment of programmes with a public interest angle.

The Country of Origin Principle: Legal certainty for cross-border offers

The country-of-origin principle is a cornerstone and success story of the current AVMSD. We believe that this should remain the case. According to this principle, each EU Member State is legally responsible for all audiovisual media services originating from its own country. This means media services providers come under the jurisdiction of only one EU country rather than multiple national authorities.

Safe content for viewers, especially children

The current AVMSD puts forward a number of measures for EU Member States to protect minors from harmful content, such as scheduling restrictions, technical measures and visual indicators. In addition, the AVMSD requires EU Member States to ensure that audiovisual content does not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality.

We believe that the role of video-sharing platforms and social media also needs to be examined. The importance of these platforms for younger audiences in particular calls for a basic set of rules to protect minors and tackle hate speech.

Free access to information and events of major importance

The AVMSD also helps Member States ensure events of major importance are available on a free-to-air basis for their population. This aims to avoid a situation where, for example, a major sports event like the Olympic Games or a landmark national ceremony would only be available on pay-per-view basis or a subscription-based TV channel. This provision is of great importance for national and social cohesion.


Position paper
15 Apr 2019
The Calculation of Share of European Works
EBU contribution in the context of the preparation of Guidelines on the calculation of share of European works on video on demand catalogues and the definition of low audience and low turnover.
Position paper
15 Apr 2019
The 'Essential Functionality' Criterion in the Definition of Video-Sharing Platform Services
EBU contribution for the preparation of Commission Guidelines on the practical application of the 'essential functionality' criterion of the definition of video-sharing platform services.
24 Jan 2019
List of Events of Major Importance for Society
A compendium of national lists of events of major importance for society under article 14 of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive.
01 Mar 2016
Audiovisual Media Regulation
The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) has promoted an open, diverse and vibrant audiovisual media sector in Europe. However this environment is undergoing profound and rapid change: we believe that some measured and proportionate adjustments to existing rules are necessary to ensure that the Directive’s principles and objectives remain relevant and attainable amidst media convergence. Our goal is to ensure that ‘free-to-air’ content of public value remains easily accessed by audiences and continues playing a central role in stimulating the European creative economy and cultural diversity.
Position paper
30 Sep 2015
EBU Reply: Audiovisual media services
The EBU Reply to the EC Consultation on Directive 2010/13/EU on audiovisual media services (AVMSD)
Reference text
19 Nov 2014
Audiovisual Media Services Directive - codified version
Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services
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