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Brussels, 29 November 2007

Commission welcomes start of a new era for Europe's audiovisual media

Today the European Parliament formally has approved without amendments the Council's common position on the new Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive. The Directive modernises the rules for Europe's audiovisual industry and offers a comprehensive legal framework that covers all audiovisual media services – including on-demand services. Less detailed, more flexible and future-oriented rules on TV advertising will allow audiovisual content to be better financed. Member States now have two years to make the Directive national law.

"Today the dawn of Europe's convergent audiovisual services industry is breaking," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "With these modernised rules that improve legal certainty and reaffirm the country of establishment principle, Europe's audiovisual policies will better meet the demands of a fast-moving and dynamic industry while maintaining high consumer protection standards. There will be less regulation, better financing for content and greater visibility to cultural diversity and the protection of minors."

The new Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive, will allow the audiovisual sector confront the profound changes it faces to accommodate technological and market developments, and changing viewing habits resulting from convergence. It follows May's political agreement by the European Parliament and Council on the main aims and provisions of the Directive (see IP/07/706), such as a new scope covering all audiovisual media services, more flexible advertising rules, a legal framework for product placement, new rights for citizens and the continued protection of key European values. The Directive is coherent with other recent Commission initiatives such as the proposed European strategy on mobile television, the plan to maximise the benefits of the digital dividend and the new MEDIA 2007 support programme. The forthcoming process of discussion and proposals on Creative Content Online will also supplement the progress made with the new Directive.

Member States will be given 24 months to convert the new rules into national law, so that they fully apply in 2009. Commissioner Reding recently asked (see SPEECH 07/560) Member States to proceed with a "light touch" transposition of the Directive i.e. not to add too many stricter national provisions, which would prevent their audiovisual industries to fully benefit from the freedom brought by the Audiovisual Media Services without frontiers Directive.


On 13 December 2005, the Commission proposed revising the "Television Without Frontiers" Directive to address significant technological and market developments in audiovisual services (see IP/05/1573 and MEMO/06/208). The Commission adopted an updated proposal for a modernised draft Audiovisual Media Services Directive on 9 March 2007 (see IP/07/311) to pave the way for this early agreement of its second reading by Parliament and Council (see MEMO/07/206).
The text of the Directive:

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