As the current European Parliament is holding its last meetings next month, the EBU acknowledges the role European Union institutions have played in the adoption of key reforms to develop a Digital Single Market. From the UHF Decision to the European Electronic Communications Code, through to the Platform-to-Business Regulation and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the very dense and comprehensive set of proposals put forward by the European Commission provided ample space for key debates and improvements for public service media, hence for citizens.
These achievements constitute a sound basis for policy and regulatory developments aimed at securing freedom of expression and information, media pluralism and cultural diversity in the Digital Single Market, during the upcoming European Commission and European Parliament mandates.
It is however disappointing that the recently adopted Copyright Directive does not take enough into consideration the organisation of broadcasting in terms of investment in new European content and creators. No thorough debate actually took place on the text’s provisions concerning contracts with authors and performers.
The EBU firmly supports transparency and appropriate remuneration for authors and performers and recalls that public service media lead investment in the European audiovisual ecosystem. The final wording of articles -14 to 16a (which became articles 18 to 22 at the very end of the negotiations), might - when implemented at national level - put at risk a well-functioning licensing regime for broadcasting; it could also tie up significant amounts of broadcasters’ funding exclusively for administrative processes without benefiting the right holders or consumers. This will make EU broadcasters less competitive vis-à-vis global players.
The NetCab Directive delivers on the modernisation of the retransmission regime – this is a first step in favour of European citizens and European culture. A rapid implementation is therefore crucial, as the updated licensing regime for retransmission will facilitate wider access to broadcasters’ programmes within a secure legal framework. The scope of audiovisual programmes which can be offered cross-border on the broadcasters' own online platforms is however much narrower than desired.