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European Parliament approves 30% Euro content rules for VOD

The European Parliament has approved new rules for audiovisual media services, which include a 30% European content quota for video-on-demand platforms.

The quota is designed to support cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector and is one part of the revised legislation, which will apply to broadcasters and online services like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.

The updated rules include enhanced protection of minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising, meaning that video-sharing platforms will now be responsible for “reacting quickly” when content is reported or flagged by users as harmful.

The EU has also redefined the limits of advertising so that ads can take up a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting period between 6.00 and 18.00, giving broadcasters the flexibility to adjust their ad periods. In primetime, between 18.00 and midnight, ads can only take up 20% of time.

The updated audiovisual rules were passed by 452 votes against 132, with 65 abstentions, though the deal still needs to be formally approved by the Council of EU ministers before the revised law can come into force.

“Video-on-demand platforms are also asked to contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions, either by investing directly in content or by contributing to national funds,” said the European Parliament in a statement.

“The level of contribution in each country should be proportional to their on-demand revenues in that country – member states where they are established or member states where they target the audience wholly or mostly.”

On the protecting minors front, the legislation does not include any automatic filtering of uploaded content. However, at the request of the European Parliament, platforms need to create “a transparent, easy-to-use and effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content.”

The new law also includes strict rules on advertising and product placement in children’s TV programmes and content available on VOD platforms, with a “personal data protection mechanism for children” also included.

The news comes after the European Parliament’s culture and education committee came to an agreement on the revision of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive in July.