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European Commission launches TV consultation

The European Commission has launched a consultation on media convergence, looking at issues such as connected TV standards, on-demand broadcast rules and TV advertising limitations.

The EC Green Paper, titled Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World is designed to be a “broad, public discussion on the implications of the on-going transformation of the audiovisual media landscape,” looking at economic growth and business innovation, media pluralism, cultural diversity and the protection of consumers – including children.

“On average, people still watch four hours of traditional TV a day across the EU. But our viewing habits are evolving. Connected devices like PCs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles make it easier to create, distribute, share and view all types of content no matter when or where you are,” the EC said.

“Converging technologies and changing viewing patterns have pushed broadcasters, technology companies and other players to develop and adapt business models.”

Among the topics that will be investigated, the EC said it would ask for feedback on how to ensure Connected TV interoperability and whether there is a need for new or updated standards.

It will also look at whether traditional broadcasters and on-demand video platforms should follow the same broadcasting rules and whether it is fair that EU rules limit TV advertising to 12 minutes per hour, but there are no limits for on-demand services.

The EC said that connected TVs currently number 40.4 million in Europe but could be in the majority of EU households by 2016, while global internet video users could almost double to 1.5 billion.

European commercial broadcasters, represented by the Association of Commercial Television, today welcomed the Green Paper, on the condition that it should “kick-start an ambitious, global discussion focusing on the future of European broadcast media and content production” and focus on the financing and production of content for TV and other devices.

Speaking in Brussels, Ross Biggam, director-general of ACT said: “European media has changed radically since 2007, when the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS directive) was negotiated, and beyond all recognition since 1989, the date from which many EU regulatory provisions originate. A review of European policy is therefore timely.”