The European Parliament adopted the new EU legislation on Audiovisual Media Services in plenary today in Strasbourg. Two years after the updates were initially proposed, European Parliament negotiators and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council sealed the deal on 25 May 2016.

“We have now made European media regulation fit for the digital era by applying similar rules to similar services, whether online or offline. We have finally negotiated a level of protection for internet media services similar to that in place for traditional broadcast media”, declared Sabine Verheyen MEP, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the reform of the legislation.

“With this result, after negotiation with the Member States, we have established a fair, level playing field by adapting some important rules to internet media services which were formerly only applicable to traditional television,” she added.

Sabine Verheyen pointed out that the result is also great news for the European film sector and our European cultural diversity: video on demand platforms will have to assign 30% of their catalogue to European productions. This will give a boost to European creativity in the audiovisual sector.

The Parliament’s position aims at strengthening the protection of consumers against excessive advertising during peak viewing hours, and in particular the protection of more vulnerable groups such as minors and children.

“I am happy to say that we have been successful in negotiating that a similar level of protection now also applies to internet media services, as it does to the classical broadcast media services. The transparency rules for advertising, especially on product placement and sponsorship, will now also apply to video-sharing platforms. This is a great achievement for the protection of consumers, especially children and minors. It was our main goal to protect our consumers against excessive advertising”, she concluded.

The scope of the Directive is to be expanded. It will, in the future, also apply to internet video services on video-sharing platforms and also to videos disseminated on social media platforms such as Facebook. In that sense, the provisions of the Directive only cover the video itself and its content. A new category of service, ‘video-sharing platforms’, has been introduced covering providers such as YouTube.