Monday, 7 May 2012

European TV

In 2010 the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) was adopted and this week the European Commission presented the first report from its application by the Member States. The goal of the Directive was to enable free circulation of audiovisual content while promoting European content, and to restrict availability of harmful content (esp. for minors). We may not be receiving the same programmes all over Europe, but at least certain frameworks (like the amount of advertisements shown) is supposed to be harmonised. The report shows the effectiveness of the measures undertaken in the Directive, while at the same time pointing out its inefficiencies, especially with relation to the smart/hybrid TV (Connected TV).

The report shows that only Poland and Belgium still have to adapt their national laws to the Directive.

One of the main issues of the Directive is to limit advertising and teleshopping spots on TV - to the max of 12 minutes per hour. The report show that since this rule was implemented, in many Member States it has been breached. The European Commission will try to ensure the proper and strict application of this rule. Moreover, creative TV advertising which was claimed not to count as advertising spot, was recently determined by the CJEU to still fall under the 12-minute rule (see: Commission v. Spain, C-281/09)

What the Member States did not have any problems with was introducing stricter rules as to the advertisement of the alcohol on TV. It seems that both private and public persons are in agreement as to the potential harmful results of these advertisements and the need for its more careful control (see the earlier post today). The same careful implementation and application took place as far as protection of minors is concerned, which may be the result of detailed provisions of the Directive on these matters. Five Member States prohibit advertising in children's programmes, while four other Member States impose partial restrictions (as to timeframe or type of products), and seven more ban showing of sponsorship logos. The Directive prohibits: direct exploitation of minors inexperience or credulity in order to convince them to buy products or services; direct encouragement of minors to persuade their parents to purchase goods or services advertised; exploitation of special trust that minors have in parents, teachers, etc; unreasonably showing minors in dangerous situations.

The European Commission intends to pay closer attention to the regulation of Connected TV in the coming months, as well as take a closer look at the discrimination factors in advertisement (stereotyped representation of gender roles was found in 21-36% of the spots analysed). (Digital Agenda: Commission adopts first report on the application of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive)

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