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Who gets prominence?!

23 May 2023

On 23 May, the EBU revealed how audiences are impacted by the current media landscape. In the above video, we highlight how media choices are now mediated by device manufacturers and interface providers. As EU policymakers are debating the European Media Freedom Act, we urge them to ensure that Member States define and enforce prominence obligations for general interest media services.

Gatekeepers to media services include:

  • Set-top boxes (e.g. Internet service providers)
  • Connected TV interfaces (e.g. Samsung, LG), including digital media players/dongles (e.g. AndroidTV, FireTV, AppleTV) and remote controls;
  • Connected cars infotainment systems;
  • OTT aggregators (e.g. MolotovTV in France, Zattoo in Germany);
  • Voice assistants (e.g. Google Assistant, Siri, Amazon Alexa);
  • Search engines (e.g. Google search);
  • Application stores (e.g. Apple AppStore, Google Play).
  • Game consoles (e.g. Playstation 5)

Audiences searching for media content are – often without realising it – directed towards these gatekeepers’ own content and services or those of their commercial partners who pay for prominence. The latter usually happens on the basis of large-scale commercial deals in which European media organisations, including public service media (PSM), are often excluded or can simply not afford.

In today’s highly competitive media ecosystem, apps and services risk becoming irrelevant to audiences if they are not on the home screen of a connected TV, on the first page of search results, or accessible via a direct and dedicated button on a remote control. The situation is even more concerning for PSM, whose remit includes serving the entire population. This situation leads to a ‘struggle for prominence’ which is becoming an existential challenge for media service providers and jeopardizes citizens’ ability to access a diverse media offer, trustworthy information, as well as local and regional content.

Audiences struggle to find the media services that matter most to them, including content and services of general interest. Without regulatory intervention, the gatekeeping role of digital device and user interface providers and their capacity to unilaterally decide what audiences see and hear will likely remain unchallenged in the near future, ultimately further reinforcing their market power.

Relevant links and documents


Andrea Campbell

Brussels Communications Lead