Last July, the European Commission, Parliament and Council officially started the final round of negotiations on the EU’s audiovisual reform, before leaving Brussels soon after for their respective holidays destinations. They reconvened as usual in September, with the next round taking place on September 28th.
The start of these negotiations follows the adoption of the European Parliament’s report and of the European Council’s general approach last May. Unfortunately, several crucial issues we identified last February were not addressed by these institutions, and new ones appeared. Will they – including those listed below – be addressed before it’s too late and the Digital Single Market (DSM) is strongly distorted?
1) The Country of Origin Principle Must Be Preserved
One crucial issue of the European Commission’s proposal was the undermining of the Country of Origin (COO) principle with the introduction of national levies, thereby unravelling the DSM (see here for more details on the COO).
Unfortunately, neither the Parliament nor the Council chose to fix this provision – despite it contradicting the entire European Union’s strategy on digital growth. In fact, the European Parliament preserved the COO principle for linear video services (i.e., for television channels) but eliminated it for emerging on-demand services with respect to national levies. Such discrimination among audiovisual media service (“AVMS”) providers tilts the playing field in favor of established providers and ensures the European Union will trail the global marketplace in innovation. To remedy this, the final text should preserve a level playing field for AVMS providers, ideally maintaining the decades-old COO framework.