Strict rules on audiovisual media services

On 2 October 2018, the European Parliament has adopted new rules on audiovisual media services, protecting the children better, limiting the quantity of advertisements and demands 30% European content at least.

The amended regulation applies to the television channels, the video-on-demand service providers (a service that allows the downloading of video and audio records and movies at any time) and video sharing platforms (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, Facebook) as well.

The updated rules will ensure the enhanced protection of minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising.

The media services providers should have appropriate measures and processes to combat content inciting violence, hatred and terrorism; furthermore, they should develop a simple and efficient method that enables the users to report any harmful contents (as the rules do note require pre-screening of the content before uploading). Video-sharing platforms will now be responsible for reacting quickly when content is reported by users as harmful.

More strict rules are to apply on advertising in children’s TV programmes and online contents: for example, the data collected by the audiovisual service providers may not be used for commercial purposes (e.g. profiling, targeted promotion), in order to ensure the protection of children’s personal data.

According to the new rules, advertising can take up a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting period between 6.00 and 18.00, giving the broadcaster the flexibility to adjust their advertising periods.

In order to support the cultural diversity, MEPs ensured that 30% of content in the video-on-demand platforms’ catalogues should be European; furthermore, these service providers are also asked to contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions, either by investing directly in content or by contributing to national funds. The level of contribution in each country should be proportional to their on-demand revenues in that country.

The deal still needs to be formally approved by the Council of EU ministers before the revised law can enter into force. Member States have 21 months after its entry into force to transpose the new rules into national legislation.