IRIS Special - Online activities of public service media: remit and financing

The difficulty in deciding which online services receive public funding due to a public service remit is one of the major issues currently being tackled by EU governments. This IRIS Special has been prepared by the Saarbrücken-based Institute of European Media Law and brings together contributions from various authors. The European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a major new report.

More details

Pages : 100
Place : Strasbourg
Date of publication : September 2015
Editor : European Audiovisual Observatory

5,00 €

Add to wishlist

The electronic file of the IRIS Special publication is free on line. We propose you the print copy for a cost price.


One of the pillars of freedom of expression in the audiovisual sector is media pluralism. This concept covers, on the one hand, the availa

The European Audiovisual Observatory proposes a major report giving invaluable background reading on the subject of Online activities of public service media: remit and financing. This new publication tackles issues such as the definition of a public service media, current funding models for broadcasting or indeed the pertinence and practicability of a public value test for New Media services of public service media.

The keywords in the field of broadcasting today are digitisation and (technical) convergence. Digitisation has led to a big increase in the number of channels and in the amount of text and audiovisual content available, which has in turn been accompanied by further differentiation with regard to programming and means of distribution. The media companies and broadcasters operating in the market are increasingly being joined by private individuals who post publications or other offerings on the Internet, with the result that it is becoming harder and harder to differentiate between the various media. Both the online offering of a traditional newspaper and the website of a public service TV channel provide the individual with information in the form of text and images and with audiovisual fi lm material. Text, pictures, sound and video are increasingly merging into “multimedia” and all content can be received on a wide variety of terminal devices, from PCs to mobile telephones.

In light of these changes in the media sector, it is crucial for ensuring the political awareness of the public in a democracy to keep bearing in mind what demands have to be met by media in general and public service broadcasters in particular.


A must-read analysis of the challenges currently facing PSM in their development of new on-line services


Press release here


Content list



1. The European framework regarding online activities of public service media

1.1. Council of Europe

1.1.1. Conventions, Recommendations, Resolutions and Declarations The role of public service broadcasting in a democratic society Public service broadcasting and new media

1.1.2. Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights The role of public service broadcasting in a democratic society Public service broadcasting and new media

1.2. European Union

1.2.1. Primary law

1.2.2. Secondary law

1.2.3. Jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union

1.2.4. Decisions of the European Commission

1.3. Conclusion

2. The remit of public service media on the Internet

2.1. The media at the beginning of the global information age

2.2. Public service broadcasting on the World Wide Web

2.3. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression and the online remit

2.4. Conclusion

3. Broadcasting funding models in selected European states

3.1. Sources of funding for broadcasting services

3.2. The licence-fee funding model

3.2.1. Licence fee calculation

3.2.2. Amount payable

3.2.3. Group obliged to pay licence fees

3.2.4. Fee collection

3.2.5. Fee distribution

3.3. Conclusion

4. Licence fee reform and online remit in Danish public service media

4.1. Introduction

4.2. The Danish licence fee funding system

4.2.1. Why was the media licence fee introduced?

4.2.2. The current definition of devices included in the media licence fee

4.2.3. Did the change ensure robustness of funding?

4.2.4. Summing up

4.3. The Danish regulatory structure of public service

4.3.1. The regulatory structure

4.3.2. The definition of public service

4.3.3. When and why was the current definition established?

4.3.4. Public service companies DR The regional TV 2 companies TV 2/Denmark A/S Radio24seven

4.3.5. The public service value test

4.3.6. Summing up

4.4. Conclusions

5. Funding of public service media in Germany

5.1. Introduction

5.2. Reasons for the change in German funding

5.3. The new household orientated licence fee

5.3.1. The private sector

5.3.2. The non-private sector

5.4. State independent funding

5.5. Two years later – experiences with the new law

5.5.1. Increase in licence fee revenues

5.5.2. Effects on the private and non-private sector

5.5.3. Involvement of the non-private sector

5.6. The “new licence fee” in terms of state aid law

5.6.1. Amendment of the public service remit?

5.6.2. Significant modification in the funding scheme?

5.7. Conclusion and outlook

6. Funding of the Hungarian Public Service Media

6.1. The organisation of Hungarian public service media

6.2. The funding of Hungarian public service media

6.2.1. The licence fee in Hungarian media regulation

6.2.2. Public service media funding in the new media law

6.2.3. Transparency of financing

6.3. “New media” services of Hungarian public service media

6.3.1. “New media” content

6.3.2. Conditions for launching new Public Media Services

6.3.3. Financing new media content providers

6.3.4. A three-step test for Hungarian PSB?

6.4. Concluding remarks

7. The Public Value Test and its implementation

7.1. Responsible institutions

7.1.1. Governing body of the Public Broadcaster

7.1.2. Governmental representative

7.1.3. Independent regulator

7.2. The procedure foreseen by national legislation

7.2.1. Initiation of a test

7.2.2. Open public consultation

7.2.3. Market impact assessment

7.2.4. Decision

7.3. Duration and cost

7.4. Conclusion

8. Public value test: fit for purpose?

8.1. PSM in the digital age

8.2. New PSM online services within the public service remit

8.3. Amending the public service remit to include new PSM online services

8.4. Public value test for significant new PSM online services

8.4.1. Platform neutrality

8.4.2. Fairness: balancing public value and market impact

8.4.3. Transparency

8.4.4. Independence

8.4.5. Proportionality

8.5. Conclusion

9. The ex ante test and its characteristics in national legislation

9.1. Introduction

9.2. The Adoption of the 2009 Communication

9.3. The impact of the new Communication: how has the ex ante test worked in practice?

9.4. Next Steps?


Online Services

IRIS e-Newsletter

Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory

> Database IRIS Merlin 

Database on legal information relevant to the audiovisual sector in Europe

> AVMSDatabase

Database on the transposition of the AVMS Directive into national legislation

Database LUMIERE

Database on admissions to films released in Europe


The European film directory on European films available on VOD services in Europe

> Database MAVISE

Database on TV and on-demand audiovisual services and companies in Europe