Green Paper on Convergence: European Parliament highlights key policy guidelines

posted on 25 April, 2014   (public)

Green Paper on Convergence: European Parliament highlights key policy guidelines

On 12 March 2014, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on “Preparing for a fully Convergent audiovisual World” as a response to the eponym Green Paper on Convergence published by the European Commission in April 2013. The Resolution is based on a Report of the EP Culture and Communication Committee drafted by MEP Sabine Verheyen and adopted in January 2014.

The Commission Green Paper, which gathered more than 200 responses, invited stakeholders and the wider public to share their views on the on-going transformation of the audiovisual media landscape and its regulatory implications, in particular for the AVMS Directive.

The Resolution is built around a six-tier structure addressing the issues of convergent markets, access and findability, safeguarding diversity and funding models, infrastructure and frequencies, values and regulatory framework.

Typically, due to its intrinsic nature, the text is the result of a compromise between the interests of various players. Illustrations of policy paradigms from both “dirigists” and “liberals” can be retraced throughout the text. While point 20. calls from a removal of all quantitative advertising limits for linear content, point 37. urges the Commission and Member States to step up the application of Article 13 of the AVMS on the promotion of European works for on-demand services.  The issue of the principle of country of origin - bone of contention par excellence - is still deemed to be a cornerstone of the system and a significant prerequisite for the circulation of audiovisual content in Europe, even though the text denounces the practice of forum shopping in the field of tax policy within the EU.

Nevertheless, a few key messages clearly come across.

  • Against the background of recent progress made by technological convergence and the emergence of new global players, the Resolution highlights the importance of securing a sustainable funding model for European content.
  • Echoing some responses to the Green Paper, Point 13 calls for the definition and potential regulation of the concept of "platform provider".
  • The Resolution also acknowledges access and findability of content as key regulatory concerns for the digital future.
  • Finally, by calling the Commission to conduct an impact assessment on the scope of the AVMS Directive, the document thus initiates the process of a future review.

Owing to the combined effects of the upcoming parliamentary elections and the renewal of the Commission, it is however very difficult at this stage to predict how far the orientations of the Resolution will be implemented in future.

Source: Website of the European Parliament