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EU moves towards platform-neutral approach to regulating video and audio content

The same regulatory standards should apply to video and audio content posted on online platforms as those that apply to content broadcast on TV or via on-demand services, according to EU law makers.26 May 2017

The Council of Ministers backed plans for new EU audiovisual media services laws to be platform-neutral earlier this week.

According to the Council, EU member state governments have reached agreement on the wording of a new Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, which was proposed by the European Commission last summer.

The "compromise text" agreed on by the Council includes provisions which would bring video-sharing platforms and social media services that make a "significant amount" of audiovisual content available to users within the scope of the new framework.

The existing AVMS Directive already applies rules to audiovisual content broadcast on TV as well as 'on-demand' services found online that are 'TV-like'. The Directive lays out a range of rules that providers must adhere to, including restrictions on advertising and sponsorship as well as rules designed to ensure the protection of minors.

In its statement, the Council said the proposed new AVMS Directive it has endorsed contain "more effective jurisdiction rules and strengthened cooperation procedures ... to deal with problems relating to cross-border services, for instance those arising from providers established in one country but targeting an audience in another".

It also said the proposals contain "stringent requirements on alcohol and cigarette advertising" and also impose a duty on on-demand service providers to ensure at least 30% of the content they make available is "European works".

The agreement within the Council on the wording of the new Directive means that negotiations can now begin with the European Parliament on the final text, the Council said.