IRIS Special - Video on Demand and the Promotion of European works

This IRIS Special focuses on legislation concerning the potential of  on demand audiovisual services to boost the consumption of European films and TV programmes. Is current European legislation keeping up with this potential and making provision for the promotion of European works on line? Our brand new report investigates…

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Pages : 106
Place : Strasbourg
Date of publication : January 2014
Editor : Susanne Nikoltchev, European Audiovisual Observatory

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Films and TV programmes in Europe are now, more than ever before, fighting for market share faced with the onslaught of successful content from the States and other countries. The rise in the on-demand content market has meant that, potentially, a new channel for promoting European works now exists via the various on-demand services. But how has Europe incorporated these on-demand services and their potential into its legislation? Our new IRIS Special report asks this very question.


Press release of this publication


The first chapter, entitled Existing promotion obligations imposed on On-demand audiovisual services in selected countries, focuses on the various legal measures such as compulsory financial contributions from SPs, quotas according to nationality or language, or prominence requirements in terms of layout and presentation of content which aim at promoting works on-demand in 5 countries (Italy, Slovakia, France, the Netherlands and Belgium). Major differences in national ways of applying the overarching AVMSD soon become apparent…


The second chapter - Challenging Principal Assumptions that underpin the promotion of European works in on-demand services - takes a critical look at current legal measures aimed at boosting European works via on demand services. Are they keeping up with the pace of developments? Models of consumer behaviour are examined using the Dutch example. We also look at the thorny issue of less stringent regulations in certain EU countries chosen for the headquarters of international companies such as Netflix and Google. The report points to the possible distortion of competition caused by "the presence of less regulated foreign competitors" in the European VoD market.


The final chapter is useful summary of the Observatory's workshop on promoting European Works in On-Demand Audiovisual Media Services which took place last spring in Amsterdam and which provided the basis for this report. The workshop brought together the Observatory's partner organisations as well as a dozen notable legal and industry experts in the VoD field.


A brand new 100-page report on the current legislation of the VoD market in Europe regarding its potential for promoting European films and TV programmes.


Content list


Part I: Existing Promotion Obligations Imposed on On-demand Audiovisual Services in Selected Countries


The Italian Perspective

I. On-demand media service providers under Italian law

II. Rules on promotion of European works applicable to both linear and non-linear audiovisual media service providers

III. Outline of the main rules on promotion of European works applicable to linear AVMS providers

1. Content quotas

2. Investment quotas in favour of independent producers

IV. Promotion of European works by on-demand AVMS providers

1. Timing of the implementation

2. Derogations from content and investment quotas

3. Monitoring and enforcement


The Approach in the Slovak Republic

I. Promotion of European works in the pre-AVMS era

II. Promotion of European works in the post-AVMS era

1. Situation before the European Commission's review of the AVMS Directive's transposition

2. Change of legislation after the Commission's review of the AVMS Directive's transposition

3. Light at the end of the tunnel (?)


French Solutions

Preliminary remarks

I. Description of legal framework

1. General description

1.1. Financial obligations

a) Content of financial obligations

b) Catch-up TV

c) Pay VoD

d) Subscription VoD

1.2. Quotas and prominence

2. Reasons that led to this particular national solution

II. Monitoring and enforcement

1. Monitoring

1.1. Reporting

1.2. CSA monitoring

2. Enforcement


The Dutch Approach

I. Regulation on the promotion of European and independent works in linear services: Media Act 2008 and policy guidelines of the CvdM

1. Media Act 2008

2. Policy guidelines of the CvdM regarding programme quotas

3. Reporting in practice

II. Regulation on the promotion of European works in on-demand media services: Media Act 2008 and pilot study of the CvdM

1. Media Act 2008

2. Pilot study of the CvdM

III. Conclusion and remaining issues


New Issues and Challenges for Audiovisual Policy-makers, Films Institutions and Audiovisual Regulators:the Example of the French Community of Belgium

I. The context

II. Obstacles

III. Case study: the French Community of Belgium

1. The regulatory framework…

2. … its advantages…

3. … and its implementation

3.1. Defining "prominence"

3.2. Evaluating prominence

3.2.1. Object of evaluation

3.2.2. Evaluation contributors

3.2.3. Evaluation results

IV. Lessons learned

1. Cooperation

2. Timing


Part II: Challenging Principal Assumptions that Underpin the Promotion of European Works in On-demand Services


Are the Guards Stationed at the Right Portals?

The Suitability of Regulations on the Promotion of European Works in Non-linear Audiovisual Media Services

I. View of the world of on-demand audiovisual media services when the AVMSD was drafted

II. Potential challenges for the chosen regulatory approach

1. Examine services collectively rather than individually?

2. Include platform operators and providers of "bundled services"?

3. Differentiate between free content and paid services?

III. General conclusions


Is the Audience Moving towards Online Consumption?

Central question and initial answer

I. Context

II. Observations

1. Time spent on media by age group

2. Impact of non-linear video

3. Audio devices/platforms used

4. Streaming audio fixed v. mobile

5. IP v. traditional (FM/cable)

6. Frequencies per device

7. Audiovisual material other than on TV

8. Catch-up TV on different platforms

9. Places to watch

10. Usage of Internet

11. Social media

12. Use of functions on smartphones and tablets

13. Use of second screen

14. Qualitative online research regarding young audience

III. Conclusions

IV. Final answer


The Promotion of European Audiovisual Productions in Flanders: Reflecting the Relevant Criteria

1. Introduction

2. Legal and policy framework for the promotion of European audiovisual productions in Flanders

The Flemish Media Decree

Flemish Media Policy Memorandum

VRT Convention

3. Overview of offerings on distribution platforms

4. Promoting European production looked at from different angles

5. State of play

6. Thoughts for the future


The Implementation of Article 13 of the AVMS Directive in the Context of the European Distribution of On-demand Audiovisual Services and "Ease of Doing Business Policies"

"Ease of doing business policies" in the audiovisual services field

Pan-European strategies for video-on-demand services

Four European Union countries as preferred bases for VoD services

International services established in Switzerland and the United States

The importance of Luxembourg regulation



The Luxembourg Legal Framework: Its Regulatory Model and Culture


I. The regulatory framework for the media: legislation and actors

II. The promotion of European works in non-linear services

1. The transposition of Article 13 AVMSD

2. The Luxembourg market for on-demand services


The Impact of the International Legal Framework, in particular the WTO and UNESCO, on the Pursuit of Cultural Diversity Objectives Online

I. Interfacing EU media policy and existing international instruments

1. The World Trade Organization


II. Comments on the current state of affairs and future prospects, in particular for cultural tools online


Part III: Workshop on Promoting European Works in On-demand Audiovisual Media Services: A Summary of the Discussion



I. The legal framework

1. International level

2. European level

2.1. Council of Europe

2.2. European Union

2.2.1. EU Treaties

2.2.2. Audiovisual Media Services Directive

II. Country reports

1. Existing obligations imposed on on-demand audiovisual media services

1.1. Quotas

1.2. Prominence

1.3. Financial investment obligations

1.4. Indicators

2. Enforcement mechanisms

2.1. Monitoring

2.2. Fines

2.3. Collaborative approach

III. Challenging principal assumptions

1. Consumer behaviour

2. Scope and definitions

3. Economic value

4. Value chain

IV. Is there a need to shift from supply to demand criteria?

1. Promotion of European content

2. Increasing power of the viewer

V. Issues relating to safe harbours

1. "Ease of doing business" policies

2. Nascent markets

VI. Overarching economic/cultural interests and how they are framed by international law

1. The impact of the WTO-GATS and the UNESCO Convention

2. Lack of innovation in tackling the problem


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