EPRA Chairman Jean-François Furnémont participated as a speaker in the annual conference of the International Institute of Communications (IIC) which was held in London on 9-10 October 2013. He intervened in a panel on “Connected TV and Platforms” together with representatives of BSkyB, Netflix, Samsung and Korea Telecom. In his speech, Jean-François Furnémont highlighted three main regulatory challenges raised by connected TV:
The sustainability of public policy with regard to content delivery (e.g. protection of minors, consumer protection, …) in an environment in which content accessible to the viewer on the very same screen can at the same time be regulated as AVMS linear, as AVMS non-linear or be out of regulatory reach either because it is not in the scope of the AVMSD or not under the jurisdiction of a Member State.
The issue of the level playing field between service providers. European service providers are facing new entrants coming from outside the EU who may potentially disrupt the whole value chain, since they directly compete with them and have to comply with either very few or no legal obligations. In his view, the practice of "regulatory shopping" is increasingly becoming a concern for many NRAs, and several of them believe that further harmonisation of the European audiovisual policy is needed to tackle this problem.
The role of “platform providers”. Aggregators or distributors are currently not taken into account by the EU regulatory framework, although they play a crucial role as gatekeepers. Belgium and France have developed, in addition to the concept of "service provider" which falls under the scope of the AVMSD, and the role of "electronic communication network" which falls under the scope of the telecom package, an intermediary role as “distributor”. In Germany, the Inter-StateBroadcasting Agreement has created the concept of “platform provider”. The recent Resolution of the European Parliament on Connected TV also mentions the role of platform provider.
Jean-François Furnémont concluded his intervention by stressing the need to preserve of the virtuous circle of the EU audiovisual market according to which those who benefit from audiovisual works by commercializing and distributing them should also contribute to finance their production and promote their consumption.