Licensing systems for AVMS in EU-28: in-depth analysis by the EAO

posted on 27 September, 2018   (public)

Reinforced cooperation between NRAs is crucial given the variety of licensing procedures

The European Audiovisual Observatory published a Mapping of licensing systems for audiovisual media services in EU-28 on 26 September 2018. This very comprehensive study, the first in-depth research in the field, was commissioned to the EAO by the European Commission and was coordinated by Jean-François Furnémont, founding partner at Wagner-Hatfield. The report, which aims at filling the obvious knowledge gap in the area of licensing, was launched on the occasion of a public conference in Athens.

The objective of the project is to provide both a mapping and a description of licensing and related systems - such as notification for on-demand services - for audiovisual media services in the European Union as well as a comparative analysis on the functioning of the various systems.

  • Key findings: the significant variety of licensing systems throughout Europe is partly due to the cultural, technological and historical context in each European country. Furthermore, the lack of harmonisation in terms of licensing or related systems contributes to the considerable variety in the role of regulatory authorities: from very limited in some countries such as Luxembourg or Spain to full jurisdiction over this matter, which includes, in some cases, the mission to licence the AVMS of the public service media, as is the case in Latvia or Slovenia, or the capacity to significantly influence the perimeter of activities of the public service media, as in Hungary. The study also finds out that the legal frameworks in several countries are outdated and sometimes conflicting.
  • Methodology: this extensive report was completed thanks to a comprehensive questionnaire circulated to national experts in each of the 28 EU member States. On the basis of the responses received a national factsheet was drafted by the Observatory and cross-checked with national contact points from the broadcasting regulatory authorities and governmental bodies in each country.
  • Comparative analysis: the report provides a comparative analysis of the various licensing and notification systems and of their functioning throughout the EU-28. Comparative tables outline the respective regimes applicable to public service media, commercial media service providers, regional/local service providers and community/non-profit service providers. The publication also describes the different systems of managing licences and notifications, of their attribution, suspension or revocation.

A very useful asset of this publication is the last chapter gathering the 28 national summaries; this provides an comprehensive overview on the different systems applicable in the EU-28 and thus enables a better understanding of the variety of existing approaches.

EPRA Background: EPRA members helped cross-check the information provided by national experts. The preliminary findings of the mapping were presented by Maja Cappello on the occasion of a Working Group which convened during the 46th EPRA meeting in Vienna in October 2017. EPRA delegates considered that the mapping, once completed, was likely to be an eye opener for licensing experts on various approaches and may lead to reforms in some areas. Another key finding was that cooperation between NRAs will be more important than ever under the new AVMS Directive. Networks of regulators such as EPRA and ERGA will have a key role to play to facilitate such cooperation.

Source: Website of the European Audiovisual Observatory