04 March, 2019
Mapping highlights fragmented European approaches
Within the context of the on-going discussions around the implementation of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), the need for comparative data and analysis on the different initiatives and rules in support of the promotion of European works in place in Europe has become crucial. It is against such background that the European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) commissioned to the European Audiovisual Observatory to produce a mapping report describing the initiatives and rules designed to promote European works currently in place in the 31 countries that are members of the EFADs (EU-28, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). Jean-François Furnémont, founding partner of Wagner-Hatfield, is the contributing author of this publication produced in collaboration with EFADs members and national experts.
This report aims at identifying the existing financial investment obligations applicable to broadcasters, VOD providers and distributors, and the levies to film funds that are imposed on the different players in the audiovisual industry (broadcasters, VOD providers, distributors, theatres, the video industry), as well as identifying the promotion obligations (quotas and/or prominence) imposed on broadcasters and VOD providers.
Financial investment obligations: they are imposed on linear broadcasters in 26 out of 31 cases. Yet, in more than half of these cases, the obligation is not mandatory but optional. In around half of these cases, specific financial investment obligations are imposed on public broadcasters, usually higher than those imposed on commercial broadcasters and in a few cases (Bulgaria, Belgium - Flemish Community, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia), only public broadcasters have financial obligations. Financial investment obligations are imposed on VOD services in 10 out of 31 cases. In six cases they are mandatory and in three cases they are optional: VOD services can choose between the financial investment (direct contribution) and paying a levy (indirect contribution), usually to the relevant film/audiovisual fund; VOD services can choose between the financial investment (direct contribution) and quotas for European works in their catalogues.
Levies: they are imposed on linear broadcasters in 11 out of 31 cases. In some of these cases, the obligation is not mandatory but optional, which means that broadcasters can choose between a financial investment (direct contribution) and paying a levy (indirect contribution) to the relevant film/audiovisual fund. The beneficiary is usually the national/federal film/audiovisual fund, except in Austria, where the beneficiary is the State budget. No levy is applicable to foreign broadcasters targeting the domestic audience. Levies are imposed on VOD services in 7 out of 31 cases and in some of them, the obligation is not mandatory but optional. In all cases, the beneficiary is the national/federal film/audiovisual fund. The levy is also applicable to foreign VOD services targeting the domestic audience in 3 out of 31 cases (Belgium–Flemish Community, Germany and France).
Quota obligations: Quotas for European works are imposed on linear broadcasters in all cases, including in the three non-EU countries. Yet, in several cases, more detailed or stricter rules in this field have been adopted. Quotas for independent works are imposed on broadcasters in 29 out of 31 cases, including in the three non-EU countries. Yet, in several cases, more detailed or stricter rules in this field have been adopted. VOD services are invited to promote European works by way of access measures which could potentially include, in the vast majority of cases, a share in their catalogues. In 13 out of 31 cases, more detailed or stricter rules have been adopted and a specific quota has been imposed for European works in the catalogues of VOD services. The levels of quotas imposed vary between 20% and 60%.
Prominence obligations: VOD services are invited to promote European works by way of access measures which could include, in the large majority of cases, prominence initiatives. Yet a clear and specific reference to prominence obligations, beyond the wording of the AVMS Directive, is present in only 10 out of 31cases.
Source: European Audiovisual Observatory Website