BRUSSELS: The European Commission has revised regulations that restricted commercial broadcasters from receiving public funds, and will now allow member states to assess on an individual basis the needs of their domestic broadcast sectors.

Declining ad revenues threaten the future of many of the European Union's public service broadcasters, and under the new rules, member nations can help meet the financial needs of domestic PSBs as they deem appropriate.

Public service broadcasters will also be permitted to establish cash reserves to help them offset any potential funding shortfall.

Says competition commissioner Neelie Kroes: "My goal is to help stakeholders in the broadcasting sector to meet the challenges of the new media environment, allowing a high quality and modern public service, while at the same time maintaining a fair level playing field between the different sectors."

Public service broadcasters in the EU receive over €22bn ($28bn; £18bn) from levies such as licence fees and governmental support each year, behind only agriculture and transport, according to figures from the Commission.

The new rules will be subject to consultation, with a final set of proposals likely to be established in 2009.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff