Bru ssels, 28 May 2009
European programmes and films represent three quarters of peak viewing time
Films and television programmes made in Europe continue to attract European viewers. According to an independent study carried out on behalf of the European Commission and published today, European works represent almost three quarters of European channels' peak viewing time. The presence of European works in the new media – such as video on demand – is encouraging, but its compliance with the new European audiovisual rules needs to be monitored closely. Those rules, which are intended to ensure that European works are broadcast, were supplemented in 2007 by specific new‑media measures which all the Member States must apply by December 2009 ( ).
'I welcome viewers' interest in European works. This demonstrates that European diversity, promoted by the European Union's audiovisual policy, is a value shared by the vast majority of Europeans,' said Jacques Barrot, European Commission Vice‑President and currently also the Commissioner responsible for the information society and the media . 'But I am convinced that we can do better and that the broadcasting of our works can be further increased. In particular, we must utilise the potential of on‑demand services in order to promote local and European content throughout Europe, thereby furthering cultural diversity and independent production.'
The study published today measures for the first time how long viewers spend watching European programmes. Previous studies measured only their share of the programme schedule. This study shows that independent European programmes and films are very popular. In 2007 European programmes and films represented 74% of viewing time, and even 75.5% between 18:00 and 23:00; 33.4% of Europeans' viewing time was devoted to independent European productions.
The majority of video‑on‑demand services provided by television channels offer almost exclusively European content: more than 90% of the television channels interviewed stated that European content represented over 75% of their on‑demand listings. By contrast, independent video‑on‑demand services promote European productions far less: 25% state that they offer less than 25% European viewing time in their listings. It is therefore important to monitor the development of video‑on‑demand available in the EU in order to support the promotion of culturally diversified content.
The study, based on a representative sample of television channels and associated services throughout Europe, has been carried out on behalf of the European Commission in order to examine the promotion of European works by television channels and on‑demand services in 30 countries, as required by the European audiovisual rules ( ). It proposes methods for evaluating the presence of, and investment in, European content by video‑on‑demand services.
Lastly, it encourages Member States and on‑demand services to draw up guidelines for assessing the importance of European content in the on‑demand service environment.
Under the 'television without frontiers' Directive of 1989, European channels are required to devote the majority of their programming time to European works and at least 10% of that time or of their programming budgets to independent European productions. In 2007 the Directive's scope was extended to on‑demand services by the 'audiovisual media services' Directive, which requires Member States to ensure that providers of on‑demand audiovisual media services promote – where feasible and by appropriate means – production of, and access to, European works. Various means may contribute to this – including investment in production of, and acquisition of rights in, European works or providing for the inclusion of an adequate or predominant proportion of such works in video‑on‑demand listings ( ).
The independent study, published today, adds an external dimension to the Commission's biennial report on Member States' compliance with these requirements, based on information supplied by the Member States. The study has been carried out for the Commission by Attentional Limited, Oliver & Ohlbaum Associés, Ramboll Management and Headway International. The Commission's latest report, covering the period 2005‑06, was published in July 2008 ( ). The next report, for 2007‑08, will be published in 2010.
The study is available at:
Extracts from the study published today 1
Channels still standing below the 50% European works requirement
Sanctions in the Member States for non-compliance
Channel programme spend allocation (2007)
Source of acquired programmes
European formats broadcast in the United States
Types of programming offered on the broadcasters' on-demand services (2007)
Video on demand services across the EU Member States
The views expressed in the study are those of the authors. The report does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission, nor does the European Commission accept responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein.