The European Commission has adopted a legislative proposal to review the Audiovisual Media Services Directive at the end of May 2016. Cable Europe has welcomed the Commission’s initiative, in particular the de-regulatory approach on commercial communications, the safeguarding of the country of origin principle, and the emphasis on self- and co-regulation. Nevertheless, we call upon the EU legislator to move away from quotas and focus instead on incentivising the audiovisual industry. We are also concerned that any findability/must-be-found type of obligations, which Member States would be able to impose at national level, could not only limit users’ choice but also discriminate against content that is not granted preferred visibility.

Our position on the AVMS review follows the line we have taken in our response to the public consultation launched in 2013 by the Commission’s Green Paper on a converged audiovisual world on how to transform convergence in the audiovisual sector into economic growth and innovation while, at the same time, to continue protecting the values that are at the basis of the EU audiovisual regulation.

Cable Europe’s response to the Green Paper had stressed the importance of a competitive, market-driven approach of regulation and policy and the need to avoid the promotion of a single technology or platform. We had identified as key conditions, the availability of content across multiple devices/platforms, the promotion of privately funded platforms/distribution infrastructures, and the need for suitable tools to prevent abuse by content monopolies. We also advocated the lowering of barriers to all market players in order to allow European providers to effectively compete with external (OTTs) players. Deregulation should be complemented by self regulation in specific areas, such as child protection.

In 2012, Cable Europe’s policy paper on Connected TV described the connected TV services provided by cable operators as part of their television platforms. It also highlighted the need to preserve competition between platforms/technologies and in particular to ensure that platform providers continue to be able to negotiate content rights as appropriate.