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IRIS 2014-9:1/7

European Commission

Summary of responses to Green Paper on ‘fully converged audiovisual world’ published

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Ronan Ó Fathaigh

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 12 September 2014 the European Commission published its Feedback Paper on the public consultation responses it received following the release of its Green Paper on ‘Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values in 2013 (see IRIS 2013-6/5). The purpose of the Green Paper had been to initiate a public discussion on the implications of the rapidly transforming audiovisual landscape, and in particular media convergence (i.e. the progressive merger of traditional broadcast services and the internet).

The Commission opened its public consultation on the Green Paper in April 2013, and it ran until September 2013. Stakeholders were asked to submit responses to a series of 27 questions posed in the Green Paper. The Commission received a large amount of responses, with 236 submissions being received. A wide range of stakeholders made submissions, including individuals, consumer and citizen groups, broadcasters, advertising associations, network operators, film and television producers and distributors, sports associations, child protection associations, disability rights groups, publisher associations, digital and internet companies, public authorities, regulatory authorities, and academia.  

While many of the submissions were made publically available on the Commission’s website (where stakeholders gave consent), the Commission has now published a 112-page Feedback Paper summarising the submissions received. The Commission has also helpfully published a much shorter 10-page Executive Summary, neatly summarising the main responses to the Green Paper questions.

As reported earlier in IRIS 2013-6/5, the questions posed in the Green Paper covered a wide range of issues, with some of the big issues being revision of current competition rules, whether the Audiovisual Media Services Directive’s distinction between linear (broadcast) and non-linear (on-demand) services for regulatory purposes was still appropriate, whether there is scope for self and co-regulation with regard to changing advertising techniques, and revision of the ‘country of origin’ principle, among many others. 

Many divergent interests are represented by the various stakeholders who made submissions, and the Commission notes on its website that there are ‘no clear tendencies among respondents and views are indeed quite split on most areas touched in the Green Paper’. To take just one example, of the views submitted on revising the AVMS Directive, some respondents argued for liberalising linear services regulation, others argue for increasing regulation of non-linear services, and others argued for maintenance of the status quo. It will now be up to the Commission to consider the responses received, and determine how best to respond to the changing media landscape and media convergence. 


References
European Commission, Summaries of the replies to the public consultation launched by the Green Paper “Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values”, 12 September 2014 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=17250
 
European Commission, Executive Summary of contributions to the public consultation - Green Paper: Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World, 12 September 2014 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=17197