On 2 October 2018, the European Parliament approved the proposal for revisionof the Directive on the provision of audiovisual media services submitted by the Commission in 2016 (COM/2016/0287), thus giving the green light to modernization of legislation in the matter.
With the emergence of new players in the audiovisual landscape, the aim of the proposal is to find a balance between safeguarding the competitiveness of operators on the market and protecting general public interests such as media freedom and pluralism, cultural diversity and the protection of minors, in order to achieve an open and fair single Europeanmarket.
The main features of the proposal include: 1) greater protection for minors by means of adopting adequate measures to identify and flag content which is either violent or harmful or constitutes incitement to hatred, making video sharing platforms aware of their responsibilities; 2) incentivizing the protection of cultural diversity and the promotion of European content by providers of on-demand services, with at least 30% of catalogues having to be composed of European works; 3) greater development of European audiovisual productions, with online platforms having to invest directly in content or to contribute to national funds in proportion to their proceeds in the country in which they are established or to which their content is mainly directed; 4) greater flexibility for advertising, which can occupy up to 20% of daily airtime in the two 6:00-18:00 and 18:00-0:00 time slots.
The proposal also includes other provisions aimed at strengthening the independence of the National Regulatory Authorities and the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA), so as to facilitate harmonization and to ensure more effective implementation of the Directive in Member States.
The proposal now has to be formally approved by the European Council before the text can definitively enter into force. At that point Member States will have 21 months within which to implement the new rules.