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IRIS 2017-4:1/13

Spain

White paper on broadcasting in Catalonia presented by CAC in Parliament of Catalonia

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Mònica Duran Ruiz

Catalan Audiovisual Council

The White Paper on broadcasting in Catalonia issued by the Consell de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya (Catalan Audiovisual Council, CAC), and presented in the Parliament of Catalonia, proposes a strategic plan to foster the sustainable development of the Catalan broadcasting system in the coming years. It achieves this by addressing the challenges of ensuring the economic sustainability of public media; consolidating the commercial content providers and making them competitive, particularly in the local sector; strengthening the cultural industries; increasing Catalan language in broadcasting overall; and ensuring competitiveness in light of the technological convergence process.

The preparation of the White Paper, that was a task given to the CAC (approved unanimously by all parliamentary groups), included the participation of seven experts that drafted specific reports on language and culture, public service, local communications, economy and industry, advertising, regulation, and market trends.

In the White Paper there is an overarching diagnosis of the situation of the audiovisual sector in Catalonia, as well as the analysis and comparison with international trends. The strategic plan sets out 53 actions, 22 of which concern structuring. These actions are divided into 135 activities or recommendations. Regarding the diagnosis, the White Paper analyses the proliferation of TV offerings, the growth of pay-TV; the new global players; the success of the video-sharing platforms and use of videos on social media; the new screens through which audiovisual content can be consumed; the advertising market; the advertising investment in Catalan media; the audience share of television in Catalan; the audience share of the Catalan Broadcasting Corporation (CCMA); and the audience share by age segments.

Some of the proposals stated in the White Paper to address the challenges identified increase the public contribution to the CCMA to meet the public contributions of the average level of similar-sized European countries. The increase of public funds from the rise of the public contribution should only be spent on content production, especially in fiction, as well as in new distribution services. As for the latter, the White Paper proposes to create an on-demand video service managed by the CCMA and open to other national and local providers (public and commercial), as well as production companies. The aim of the new platform is to give more presence to Catalan audiovisual production in the market.

Regarding the presence of the Catalan language in television services, the White Paper states that the share of television audience in Catalan has gradually decreased to 18.5%, while the remaining 81.5% is in Spanish. The audience declining is particularly relevant in the case of the children segment (4 to 12 years). In this regard the White Paper proposes strengthening channels and content targeting strategic audiences, such as children, youth, and young adults. The White Paper also proposes measures to encourage an increase in programming content in Catalan to all providers that broadcast in Catalonia. The aim is to correct the existing supply deficit and ensure citizens' right of access to audiovisual content in Catalan.

Regarding local DTT, the White Paper notes that only 50 channels (11 public and 39 commercial) out of the 96 allocated programmes are currently active. Therefore, it is proposed to draw up a new map of districts that respects the uniqueness of each region, and to boost the Xarxa Audiovisual Local (XAL) service aimed at promoting initiatives and local TV streaming and on-demand content. With regard to the audiovisual industry, the White Paper proposes improvements in taxation, especially corporate tax and VAT to stimulate the investment and consumption in these activities.

Finally, in terms of broadcasting regulation, the White Paper proposes Catalonia is given more competences in the management of the spectrum, in order to ensure appropriate planning according to the industry needs and that the CAC becomes a convergent authority also with competences in the telecommunications field.

References
Consell de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya, Llibre blanc de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya, 23/01/2017 CA
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18411
 
  Catalan Audiovisual Council, White Paper on Broadcasting in Catalonia, 23 January 2017