Cable Europe welcomes the Commission’s Green Paper on a Fully Converged Audiovisual World. The on-going transformation of the audiovisual media landscape is bringing convergence and with this, increasing competition between a fast growing number of distribution platforms and devices and more opportunity for consumers.
The development encompasses numerous interrelated aspects, such as the display of user generated content as well as Video on Demand and “catch-up” services on the TV screen. Moreover, these services can also be accessed on a number of other devices, such as a tablet PC, a laptop, a connected game console or set-top box.
Viewed in this context, what is called “Connected TV” is not a new phenomenon. Cable and other operators have been offering enhanced, interactive services for many years that combine traditional broadcast streams with on-demand and other intelligent functionalities. Certain Cable operators have also in the last few years launched services that further integrate those combined products with services and applications delivered via the internet.
The fully converged audiovisual world should not be viewed as simply enabling the delivery of internet content to television sets. It should be regarded as a means by which multiple sources of audiovisual content, services and applications can be delivered to, and consumed via, a multitude of different devices and platforms, in many different ways.
The further development of converged audiovisual services has great potential to deliver additional benefits to citizens and consumers and indeed to the economy as a whole. However, if this potential is to be realised, regulation and policy must allow a competitive, market-driven approach to prevail and should avoid the promotion of a single technology or platform. Factors, such as the availability of content across multiple devices/platforms and the fostering of privately funded platforms as well as distribution infrastructures must also be recognised and addressed. Suitable tools must be created in order to prevent the abuse of content monopolies.
Cable Europe advocates for a lowering of the barriers to all market players to allow European providers to effectively compete with external players. The main prospective of the European lawmaker should be, to prevent the discrimination of European players compared to international OTT players. Deregulation should be complemented by self regulation measures for certain specific aspects like children protection for example.