The European Commission has formally established a group of EU Regulatory Authorities in the field of Audiovisual Media Services. The Group brings together heads or high level representatives of national independent regulatory bodies in the field of audiovisual services, to advise the Commission in implementing the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in a converged media age.
Europe’s broadcast and audiovisual landscape is changing: content is increasingly distributed and viewed across borders and created, distributed and viewed online. (see IP/13/358) This creates special regulatory challenges and makes it crucial to guarantee closer and more regular cooperation between the independent regulatory bodies of Member States and the Commission.
The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services will advise and assist the Commission in its work to ensure consistent implementation of the AVMSD and other related fields in which the Commission can act. It will facilitate cooperation between regulatory bodies in the EU, and will also allow for an exchange of experience and good practice.
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said “This group is a win-win outcome for audiovisual regulators and for the Commission: their independence is strengthened and everyone will work better together at a crucial time when we will be reviewing EU audiovisual rules in 2015.”
In its 2013 report, the independent High Level Group (HLG) on Media Freedom and Pluralism recommended the formalisation of cooperation between regulatory bodies in the field of audiovisual media services to share common good practice and setting quality standards. Moreover, the majority of respondents to the public consultation on the independence of audiovisual regulatory bodies believed that cooperation between regulatory bodies is crucial in the convergent environment. They also supported the legally mandated gathering of these authorities at European level. The European Council November 2013 also invited Member States to ensure the independence of their audiovisual regulatory bodies and Commission to strengthen cooperation between regulatory authorities in the field of audiovisual media services.
The Group is due to meet for the first time on 4th March, and during the meeting the chair of the group for the first 12 months will be chosen among the members.
Millions of Europeans catch up with their favourite TV series on a smartphone on the way to work, watch online content on their living room TV, or put their own user-generated content online. There are more than 40.4 million “connected TVs” in Europe, and they could be in the majority of EU households by 2016.
The formal group of EU Regulatory Authorities in the field of Audiovisual Media Services will complement the work of the Contact Committee which was established by Article 29 AVMSD. The Contact Committee is chaired by the Commission and composed of representatives of the authorities of the Member States. It may be convened at the request of any of the delegations. The Contact Committee was established to monitor the implementation of the Directive and the developments in the sector and as a forum for the exchange of views. It deals not only with the existing audiovisual policy but also with the relevant developments arising in this sector.