Insights into the new Directive were presented at the CIRCOM European broadcasters conference in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, by Laura Sboarina of Cullen International. You can watch her presentation here.
The main impact of the new Directive will be to establish clear simple rules on the Country of Origin (COO) of audio-visual content, and make it obligatory for member states to keep a database of services that originate in their territory. The COO will determine the jurisdiction that must deal with any complaints or infringements. To boost the EU’s creative industries, a 20 percent quota of European works will be imposed on all major on-demand movie and video services.
Other provisions deal with the protection of children and young people, the prevention of hate speech and the duty of broadcasters to police their own programming to ensure that it does not promote, for example, unhealthy habits such as consuming alcohol and cigarettes and junk food.
This ’light touch’ or self-regulation applies to all advertising. So in the new Directive more flexibility is allowed for hidden advertising such as product placement. For example, if the hero of a TV series wears a certain brand of watch, and the camera lingers on the watch at some point during each episode – that is product placement and it will be allowable under the new system. Of course the watch manufacturer pays for the placement, but the viewer may not realise that this is a subtle form of advertising because there is no commercial break. The total amount of advertising within commercial breaks must not exceed 20% of the airtime, or twelve minutes per hour.
To ensure the political and financial independence of the audio visual industries, the Directive states: