EU members slow TV's digital progress

22 December 2009
BRUSSELS: Some of the biggest countries in the European Union have failed to modernise national regulations regarding the broadcast of TV content on the web and via mobile, possibly restricting the flow of ad revenues to these channels.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive, issued by the European Commission in 2007, gave member states until last week to update their domestic laws to take into account the growth of internet, wireless and video-on-demand streaming platforms.

However, thus far, only Belgium, Romania and Slovakia have provided full submissions to the Commission, the organisation's executive arm, detailing the measures that have been put in place in order to achieve this goal.

Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have all made some progress in this area, but the desired "single market" for audiovisual material is still yet to emerge.

Viviane Reding, the information, society and media commissioner, argued "two years ago, industry and consumers were already waiting impatiently for new, more flexible EU rules that ... take account of new technological developments."

"I urgently call on EU countries to adapt their national laws to ensure that new advertising techniques enabled by the AVMS Directive are also possible – there can be no excuse for any more delay with their implementation."

Among the new forms of TV advertising approved by the EU's guidelines are split-screen spots, as well as product placement, which would be allowed in all programmes except documentaries, news bulletins and shows aimed specifically at children.

Moreover, the proposals remove limits such as requirements on broadcasters to leave a gap of 20 minutes between commercial breaks.

Data sourced from eGovmonitor; additional content by Warc staff
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