What are the general rules?
Member States are required by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) to promote European works, both on tv and through on-demand services.
The Directive requires broadcasters to reserve a majority proportion of their transmission time for European works. The transmission time counted excludes the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping.
The Directive also specifies that on-demand audiovisual media services will promote the production of and access to European works. Such promotion could be carried out through financial contributions to the production and rights acquisition of European works or by ensuring a share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programmes.
For on-demand services, Member States have taken various approaches, ranging from very extensive and detailed measures to mere reference to the general obligation to promote European works in their national legislation. A document presenting a summary of those approaches was published by the European Commission.
What are 'European works'?
The AVMSD provides a legal definition of 'European works'. It ensures that European works are only audiovisual productions which are:
- works originating in Member States;
- works originating in European countries party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe and fulfilling the three conditions detailed in paragraph 3;
- works co-produced within the framework of agreements concluded between the EU and third countries and fulfilling the conditions defined in those agreements.
Certain productions which are not 'European works' may be treated as such. To do so, they must be made in the framework of bilateral co-production agreements concluded between Member States and third countries. And, the EU co-producers should have supplied a majority share of the production costs and the production should not be controlled by the producer from the third country.
Article 17 of the AVMSD requires broadcasters to reserve a minimum proportion of at least 10% of their transmission time for European works created by independent producers. This excludes the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping,
Alternatively, Member States may require broadcasters to allocate at least 10% of their programme budget to independent productions. An adequate proportion of works by independent producers should be recent, i.e. less than five years old.
Some flexibility is allowed for the implementation of Articles 13, 16 and 17 since Member States must ensure the promotion of European and independent works 'where practicable'.
For broadcasting services, the Commission has to report every 2 years on the application of the provisions concerning European works and independent productions on the basis of statistical data provided by the Member States.
For on-demand services, Article 13 sets out an obligation for the Member States to report on the implementation of the provisions to the Commission every four years.
The revised guidelines for monitoring the application of Articles 16 and 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive are intended to help Member States with the monitoring of the implementation of Articles 16 and 17.