Council of the European Union adopts amended Audiovisual Media Service Directive

On 6 November 2018, the Council adopted a new Directive amending the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU). This is the final step in the legislative process. The new rules will enter into force on the 20th day after publication of the new Directive in the Official Journal of the EU. Member states will then have 21 months to transpose it into national legislation.

The amendments are as a result of the rapid technological changes that have occurred in the market for audiovisual media services since the 2010. For example, viewing habits have changed and user-generated content has gained importance.

The new rules will:

  • apply not only to broadcasters, but also to video on demand and video-sharing platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and Facebook, as well as to live streaming on video-sharing platforms;
  • require audiovisual media services providers to have appropriate measures to combat content inciting violence, hatred and terrorism, and gratuitous violence and pornography will be subject to strict rules. Video-sharing platforms will be responsible for reacting quickly when content is reported or flagged by users as harmful;
  • not include any requirement for automatic filtering of uploaded content, but platforms will need to create a transparent, easy-to-use and effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content;
  • include strict rules on advertising, product placement in children’s TV programmes and content available on video on demand platforms. The Directive also includes measures to ensure that children’s personal data collected by audiovisual media providers are not processed for commercial use, including for profiling and behaviourally targeted advertising;
  • provide that advertising can take up a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting period between 6.00 and 18.00, and set a prime-time window between 18:00 and 0:00 during which advertising will only be allowed to take up a maximum of 20% of broadcasting time;
  • include measures to ensure that 30% of content in video on demand platforms’ catalogues is European; and
  • require video on demand platforms to contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions, either by investing directly in content or by contributing to national funds. The level of contribution will be proportional to the on demand revenues in that Member State (either the Member State in which the provider is established or the Member State where it targets the audience wholly or mostly).

To read the Council’s press release in full, click here.