audiovisual without frontiers directive

Published Categorized as podcasting, television

Yesterday The European Commission consolidated the text and modernised “Television without Frontiersâ€? its now called Audiovisual Media Services Directive; TVWF has been on the go since 1989, it now will include non linear AV services including on demand services. I wonder if Noel Dempsey will stop using the term TVWF now? AFAIK it stops well short of radio and podcast but if either of those had moving pictures they could be in, while radio with pictures is not a good definition of Television (it once was) it would seem to morph here… so is Video Podcasting in? ( i could be wrong I could be right; read this blogs disclaimer.) is it in? i don’t know, apply this video podcast as a sample candidate. storyfix from the BBC.

[what’s in a name, I liked TVWF, it sounded Star Treky! but I hate audiovisual as much as I hate multimedia, thankfully in Irish law we call it what it is, wireless telegraphy or sound broadcasting, so rather than one word ‘audiovisual’ I would call it three words ‘Sound and Vision’ cue Bowie]

this new improved directive (in advert speak) extends “country of origin� principle to new non-linear (on-demand) audiovisual services (in particular video on demand) for the first time.

it also has a lot to do with easing restrictions on advertising for TV broadcasters, like the removal of the 3hrs a day rule as “no specialist TV channels come near that limit”, as well as split screen advertising and product placement, as the USA produced progs. have an advantage over European produced shows in this regard. But the USA has a death penalty, the EU does not… must we swallow all the bad medicine to liberate markets? When Telefonica owns 75% of endemol and endelmol shows are being examined for interactive phone practice and TV is the conduit wouldn’t better citizen protection be better than “consumers” being allowed to freely choose which network they would most like, based on the least amount of adverts where no upper limit exists?. come on!

here is one mathematical problem, the 3 hour upper limit is to go. but the 12 minute an hour stays, so the daily limit is in fact 4hrs 48min but who will do 12min breaks overnight? madness.

In Ireland we have the down side of the ‘country of origin’ where protection of minors from advertising is law in our member state but not in the UK where a majority of service providers claim to broadcast from.

some of the newer text added into this directive follows

Article 2
7. A Member State may in order to prevent abuse or fraudulent conduct, adopt appropriate measures against a media service provider established in another Member State that directs all or most of its activity to the territory of the first Member State. This shall be proven on a case by case basis by the first Member State.

Article 3b
2. Short news reports may be chosen freely by the broadcasters from the transmitting broadcaster’s signal with at least the identification of their source.

Article 3g
(a) audiovisual commercial communications must be clearly identifiable as such. Surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication shall be prohibited.

(b) audiovisual commercial communications must not use subliminal techniques;

Article 3h
1. Audiovisual media services that are sponsored or that contain product placement shall meet the following requirements:

(b) they must not directly encourage the purchase or rental of goods or services, in particular by making special promotional references to those goods or services;

4. News and current affairs shall not be sponsored and not contain product placement. Audiovisual media services for children and documentaries may not contain product placement.

so you can’t product place the airline that flew you around the world to do a documentary about child labour in the coffee plantations all hosted on a go daddy server discount code BHG!

and there’s more.

if you have a TV service in Ireland and you claim to broadcast (and some do) from the UK, but are found to do that to work around the law – well watch out

The country of origin principle could be said to be abused only if the audiovisual service provider’s choice of establishment could be shown to have been made for the purpose of fraudulently avoiding national rules that would otherwise have applied to it. The European Court of Justice has consistently held that Member States retain the right to take action against service providers that clearly abuse the country of origin principle and the freedom of establishment. Until now, Member States that were convinced that a specific service provider had abused this freedom had to initiate a cumbersome and often very time-consuming infringement procedure.

The new directive would enable Member States to take action against a broadcaster that abuses this fundamental freedom and sets out a streamlined infringement procedure with tight deadlines under the supervision of the European Commission. It will henceforth be easier for Member States to take legal action against any audiovisual service provider that abuses the freedom of establishment, while the European Commission will safeguard the single market in this procedure.

I’m not pointing fingers but not many miles from me are service providers providing TV that uplinks in the UK not Ireland. and the laws in Ireland will have to change if this directive comes in.