Brussels, 3 January 2008
Commission sees need for a stronger more consumer-friendly Single Market for Online Music, Films and Games in Europe
The European Commission has decided today to give a new boost to Europe's online content sector. EU citizens should be able to enjoy easier and faster access to a rich variety of music, TV programmes, films or games via the Internet, mobile phones or other devices. The Commission therefore encourages the content industry, telecoms companies and Internet service providers to work closely together to make available more content online, while at the same time ensuring a robust protection of intellectual property rights. The Commission also wants to facilitate copyright licences for online content covering the territory of several or all of the EU Member States. According to Commission studies, a truly Single Market without borders for Creative Online Content could strengthen considerably the competitiveness of Europe's music, film and games industry and allow retail revenues of the sector to quadruple by 2010 if clear and consumer-friendly measures are taken by industry and public authorities (see IP/07/95).
"Europe's content sector is suffering under its regulatory fragmentation, under its lack of clear, consumer-friendly rules for accessing copyright-protected online content, and serious disagreements between stakeholders about fundamental issues such as levies and private copying", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "We have to make a choice in Europe: Do we want to have a strong music, film and games industry? Then we should give industry legal certainty, content creators a fair remuneration and consumers broad access to a rich diversity of content online. I will work on these issues with my colleagues in the Commission and propose a Recommendation by mid-2008 on new ways for achieving a single market for online content. I ask in particular Europe's consumer associations to take a very active part in this debate. Because for online content, the demand and preferences of 500 million potential consumers are the strongest arguments for achieving new solutions at EU level."
The Commission has adopted today a Communication on "Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market". This strategic document is the starting point for new EU actions to support development of innovative business models, cross-border services and consumer-friendly offers.
The retail sale and distribution of high value "creative" content online represents a major structural change in the European content market. Whilst the online market share of music sales is reportedly reaching 25% in some European countries such as the UK, the retailing of video content, and the availability of on-demand TV programming via the Internet is as yet still a nascent market. Such high value "creative content" also covers radio, online games, online publishing and educational content. New market developments also arise from Web 2.0, i.e. user-created content, that consumers themselves may wish to "protect" from unauthorised re-use.
The Commission consulted the public on these issues in 2006. On the basis of this, the Commission sees a need for strengthening the European content market and the influence of European consumers needs on this market.
In the Communication, the Commission identifies four main, horizontal challenges which merit further action at EU-level:
The market for online content is developing at a rapid pace. According to a Commission study (covering EU-25), the retail revenues from content online will more than quadruple from €1.8bn in 2005 to €8.3bn by 2010 (see IP/07/95).
With the Communication "Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market", the Commission is launching today a public consultation in order to prepare – by mid 2008 – an EU Recommendation on Creative Content Online for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. Stakeholders are invited to comment on today's Communication by 29 February 2008.
In addition, the Commission will set up the "Content Online Platform", a stakeholders' forum, to initiate collaborative work with all stakeholders on issues where further discussions are needed. Consumers will be given a strong voice in this platform.
For further information:
http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/other_actions/content_online/index_en.htmFor information on the 2006 consultation process: