DIRECTIVE 2007/65/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 11 December 2007
amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities
(Text with EEA relevance)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
- Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 47(2) and 55 thereof,
- Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,
- Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),
- Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),
- Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3),
- Council Directive 89/552/EEC(4) coordinates certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of broadcasting activities. However, new technologies in the transmission of audiovisual media services call for adaptation of the regulatory framework to take account of the impact of structural change, the spread of information and communication technologies (ICT) and technological developments on business models, especially the financing of commercial broadcasting, and to ensure optimal conditions of competitiveness and legal certainty for Europe’s information technologies and its media industries and services, as well as respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.
- The laws, regulations and administrative measures in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities are already coordinated by Directive 89/552/EEC, whereas the rules applicable to activities such as on-demand audiovisual media services contain disparities, some of which may impede the free movement of those services within the European Community and may distort competition within the internal market.
- Audiovisual media services are as much cultural services as they are economic services. Their growing importance for societies, democracy — in particular by ensuring freedom of information, diversity of opinion and media pluralism — education and culture justifies the application of specific rules to these services.
- Article 151(4) of the Treaty requires the Community to take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of the Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures.
- In its resolutions of 1 December 2005(5) and 4 April 2006(6) on the Doha Round and on the WTO Ministerial Conferences, the European Parliament called for basic public services, such as audiovisual services, to be excluded from liberalisation under the GATS negotiations. In its resolution of 27 April 2006(7), the European Parliament supported the Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which states in particular that cultural activities, goods and services have both an economic and a cultural nature, because they convey identities, values and meanings, and must therefore not be treated as solely having commercial value. The Council Decision 2006/515/EC of 18 May 2006 on the conclusion of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions(8) approved the Unesco Convention on behalf of the Community. The Convention entered into force on 18 March 2007. This Directive respects the principles of that Convention.
- Traditional audiovisual media services — such as television — and emerging on-demand audiovisual media services offer significant employment opportunities in the Community, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises, and stimulate economic growth and investment. Bearing in mind the importance of a level playing-field and a true European market for audiovisual media services, the basic principles of the internal market, such as free competition and equal treatment, should be respected in order to ensure transparency and predictability in markets for audiovisual media services and to achieve low barriers to entry.
- Legal uncertainty and a non-level playing-field exist for European companies delivering audiovisual media services as regards the legal regime governing emerging on-demand audiovisual media services. It is therefore necessary, in order to avoid distortions of competition, to improve legal certainty, to help complete the internal market and to facilitate the emergence of a single information area, that at least a basic tier of coordinated rules apply to all audiovisual media services, both television broadcasting (i.e. linear audiovisual media services) and on-demand audiovisual media services (i.e. non-linear audiovisual media services). The basic principles of Directive 89/552/EEC, namely the country of origin principle and common minimum standards, have proved their worth and should therefore be retained.
- On 15 December 2003, the Commission adopted a Communication on the future of European regulatory audiovisual policy, in which it stressed that regulatory policy in that sector has to safeguard certain public interests, such as cultural diversity, the right to information, media pluralism, the protection of minors and consumer protection and to enhance public awareness and media literacy, now and in the future.
- The Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 25 January 1999 concerning public service broadcasting(9) reaffirmed that the fulfilment of the mission of public service broadcasting requires that it continue to benefit from technological progress. The co-existence of private and public audiovisual media service providers is a feature which distinguishes the European audiovisual media market.
- The Commission has adopted the initiative i2010: European Information Society to foster growth and jobs in the information society and media industries. This is a comprehensive strategy designed to encourage the production of European content, the development of the digital economy and the uptake of ICT, against the background of the convergence of information society services and media services, networks and devices, by modernising and deploying all EU policy instruments: regulatory instruments, research and partnerships with industry. The Commission has committed itself to creating a consistent internal market framework for information society services and media services by modernising the legal framework for audiovisual services, starting with a Commission proposal in 2005 to modernise the Television without Frontiers Directive and transform it into a Directive on Audiovisual Media Services. The goal of the i2010 initiative will in principle be achieved by allowing industries to grow with only the necessary regulation, as well as allowing small start-up businesses, which are the wealth and job creators of the future, to flourish, innovate and create employment in a free market.
- The European Parliament adopted on 4 September 2003(10), 22 April 2004(11) and 6 September 2005(12) resolutions which called for the adaptation of Directive 89/552/EEC to reflect structural changes and technological developments while fully respecting its underlying principles, which remain valid. In addition, it in principle supported the general approach of basic rules for all audiovisual media services and additional rules for television broadcasting.
- This Directive enhances compliance with fundamental rights and is fully in line with the principles recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(13), in particular Article 11 thereof. In this regard, this Directive should not in any way prevent Member States from applying their constitutional rules relating to freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the media.
- This Directive should not affect the obligations on Member States arising from the application of Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations(14) and of rules on Information Society services. Accordingly, draft national measures applicable to on-demand audiovisual media services of a stricter or more detailed nature than those required to simply transpose this Directive should be subject to the procedural obligations established under Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC.
- Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive)(15) according to its Article 1(3) is without prejudice to measures taken at Community or national level, to pursue general interest objectives, in particular relating to content regulation and audiovisual policy.
- No provision of this Directive should require or encourage Member States to impose new systems of licensing or administrative authorisation on any type of audiovisual media service.
- For the purposes of this Directive, the definition of an audiovisual media service should cover only audiovisual media services, whether television broadcasting or on-demand, which are mass media, that is, which are intended for reception by, and which could have a clear impact on, a significant proportion of the general public. Its scope should be limited to services as defined by the Treaty and therefore should cover any form of economic activity, including that of public service enterprises, but should not cover activities which are primarily non-economic and which are not in competition with television broadcasting, such as private websites and services consisting of the provision or distribution of audiovisual content generated by private users for the purposes of sharing and exchange within communities of interest.
- It is characteristic of on-demand audiovisual media services that they are television-like, i.e. that they compete for the same audience as television broadcasts, and the nature and the means of access to the service would lead the user reasonably to expect regulatory protection within the scope of this Directive. In the light of this and in order to prevent disparities as regards free movement and competition, the notion of programme should be interpreted in a dynamic way taking into account developments in television broadcasting.
- For the purposes of this Directive, the definition of an audiovisual media service should cover mass media in their function to inform, entertain and educate the general public, and should include audiovisual commercial communication but should exclude any form of private correspondence, such as e-mails sent to a limited number of recipients. That definition should exclude all services whose principal purpose is not the provision of programmes, i.e. where any audiovisual content is merely incidental to the service and not its principal purpose. Examples include websites that contain audiovisual elements only in an ancillary manner, such as animated graphical elements, short advertising spots or information related to a product or non-audiovisual service. For these reasons, games of chance involving a stake representing a sum of money, including lotteries, betting and other forms of gambling services, as well as on-line games and search engines, but not broadcasts devoted to gambling or games of chance, should also be excluded from the scope of this Directive.
- For the purposes of this Directive, the definition of media service provider should exclude natural or legal persons who merely transmit programmes for which the editorial responsibility lies with third parties.
- Television broadcasting currently includes, in particular, analogue and digital television, live streaming, webcasting and near-video-on-demand, whereas video-on-demand, for example, is an on-demand audiovisual media service. In general, for television broadcasting or television programmes which are also offered as on-demand audiovisual media services by the same media service provider, the requirements of this Directive should be deemed to be met by the fulfilment of the requirements applicable to the television broadcast i.e. linear transmission. However, where different kinds of services are offered in parallel, but are clearly separate services, this Directive should apply to each of the services concerned.
- The scope of this Directive should not cover electronic versions of newspapers and magazines.
- For the purpose of this Directive, the term audiovisual should refer to moving images with or without sound, thus including silent films but not covering audio transmission or radio services. While the principal purpose of an audiovisual media service is the provision of programmes, the definition of such a service should also cover text-based content which accompanies programmes, such as subtitling services and electronic programme guides. Stand-alone text-based services should not fall within the scope of this Directive, which should not affect Member States’ freedom to regulate such services at national level in accordance with the Treaty.
- The notion of editorial responsibility is essential for defining the role of the media service provider and therefore for the definition of audiovisual media services. Member States may further specify aspects of the definition of editorial responsibility, notably the notion of effective control, when adopting measures to implement this Directive. This Directive should be without prejudice to the exemptions from liability established in Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce)(16).
- In the context of television broadcasting, the notion of simultaneous viewing should also cover quasi-simultaneous viewing because of the variations in the short time lag which occurs between the transmission and the reception of the broadcast due to technical reasons inherent in the transmission process.
- All the characteristics of an audiovisual media service set out in its definition and explained in Recitals 16 to 23 should be present at the same time.
- In addition to television advertising and teleshopping, a wider definition of audiovisual commercial communication should be introduced in this Directive, which however should not include public service announcements and charity appeals broadcast free of charge.
- The country of origin principle should remain the core of this Directive, as it is essential for the creation of an internal market. This principle should therefore be applied to all audiovisual media services in order to ensure legal certainty for media service providers as the necessary basis for new business models and the deployment of such services. It is also essential in order to ensure the free flow of information and audiovisual programmes in the internal market.
- In order to promote a strong, competitive and integrated European audiovisual industry and enhance media pluralism throughout the European Union, only one Member State should have jurisdiction over an audiovisual media service provider and pluralism of information should be a fundamental principle of the European Union.
- Technological developments, especially with regard to digital satellite programmes, mean that subsidiary criteria should be adapted in order to ensure suitable regulation and its effective implementation and to give players genuine power over the content of an audiovisual media service.
- As this Directive concerns services offered to the general public in the European Union, it should apply only to audiovisual media services that can be received directly or indirectly by the public in one or more Member States with standard consumer equipment. The definition of standard consumer equipment should be left to the competent national authorities.
- Articles 43 to 48 of the Treaty lay down the fundamental right to freedom of establishment. Therefore, media service providers should in general be free to choose the Member States in which they establish themselves. The Court of Justice has also emphasised that the Treaty does not prohibit an undertaking from exercising the freedom to provide services if it does not offer services in the Member State in which it is established(17).
- Member States should be able to apply more detailed or stricter rules in the fields coordinated by this Directive to media service providers under their jurisdiction, while ensuring that those rules are consistent with general principles of Community law. In order to deal with situations where a broadcaster under the jurisdiction of one Member State provides a television broadcast which is wholly or mostly directed towards the territory of another Member State, a requirement for Member States to cooperate with one another and, in cases of circumvention, the codification of the case-law of the Court of Justice(18), combined with a more efficient procedure, would be an appropriate solution that takes account of Member State concerns without calling into question the proper application of the country of origin principle. The notion of rules of general public interest has been developed by the Court of Justice in its case law in relation to Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty and includes, inter alia, rules on the protection of consumers, the protection of minors and cultural policy. The Member State requesting cooperation should ensure that the specific national rules in question are objectively necessary, applied in a non-discriminatory manner, and proportionate.
- A Member State, when assessing on a case-by-case basis whether a broadcast by a media service provider established in another Member State is wholly or mostly directed towards its territory, may refer to indicators such as the origin of the television advertising and/or subscription revenues, the main language of the service or the existence of programmes or commercial communications targeted specifically at the public in the Member State where they are received.
- Under this Directive, notwithstanding the application of the country of origin principle, Member States may still take measures that restrict freedom of movement of television broadcasting, but only under the conditions and following the procedure laid down in this Directive. However, the Court of Justice has consistently held that any restriction on the freedom to provide services, such as any derogation from a fundamental principle of the Treaty, must be interpreted restrictively(19).
- With respect to on-demand audiovisual media services, restrictions on their free provision should only be possible in accordance with conditions and procedures replicating those already established by Articles 3(4), (5) and (6) of Directive 2000/31/EC.
- In its Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union, the Commission stressed that a careful analysis of the appropriate regulatory approach is necessary, in particular, in order to establish whether legislation is preferable for the relevant sector and problem, or whether alternatives such as co-regulation or self-regulation should be considered. Furthermore, experience has shown that both co- and self-regulation instruments, implemented in accordance with the different legal traditions of the Member States, can play an important role in delivering a high level of consumer protection. Measures aimed at achieving public interest objectives in the emerging audiovisual media services sector are more effective if they are taken with the active support of the service providers themselves.
Thus self-regulation constitutes a type of voluntary initiative which enables economic operators, social partners, non-governmental organisations or associations to adopt common guidelines amongst themselves and for themselves. Member States should, in accordance with their different legal traditions, recognise the role which effective self-regulation can play as a complement to the legislative and judicial and/or administrative mechanisms in place and its useful contribution to the achievement of the objectives of this Directive. However, while self-regulation might be a complementary method of implementing certain provisions of this Directive, it should not constitute a substitute for the obligations of the national legislator.
Co-regulation gives, in its minimal form, a legal link between self-regulation and the national legislator in accordance with the legal traditions of the Member States. Co-regulation should allow for the possibility of State intervention in the event of its objectives not being met. Without prejudice to Member States’ formal obligations regarding transposition, this Directive encourages the use of co-regulation and self-regulation. This should neither oblige Member States to set up co- and/or self-regulatory regimes nor disrupt or jeopardise current co- or self-regulatory initiatives which are already in place within Member States and which are working effectively.
- Media literacy refers to skills, knowledge and understanding that allow consumers to use media effectively and safely. Media-literate people are able to exercise informed choices, understand the nature of content and services and take advantage of the full range of opportunities offered by new communications technologies. They are better able to protect themselves and their families from harmful or offensive material. Therefore the development of media literacy in all sections of society should be promoted and its progress followed closely.
The Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and on-line information services industry(20) already contains a series of possible measures for promoting media literacy such as, for example, continuing education of teachers and trainers, specific Internet training aimed at children from a very early age, including sessions open to parents, or organisation of national campaigns aimed at citizens, involving all communications media, to provide information on using the Internet responsibly.
- Television broadcasting rights for events of high interest to the public may be acquired by broadcasters on an exclusive basis. However, it is essential to promote pluralism through the diversity of news production and programming across the European Union and to respect the principles recognised by Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
- In order to safeguard the fundamental freedom to receive information and to ensure that the interests of viewers in the European Union are fully and properly protected, those exercising exclusive television broadcasting rights to an event of high interest to the public should grant other broadcasters the right to use short extracts for the purposes of general news programmes on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms taking due account of exclusive rights. Such terms should be communicated in a timely manner before the event of high interest to the public takes place to give others sufficient time to exercise such a right. A broadcaster should be able to exercise this right through an intermediary acting specifically on its behalf on a case-by-case basis. Such short extracts may be used for EU-wide broadcasts by any channel including dedicated sports channels and should not exceed 90 seconds.
The right of access to short extracts should apply on a trans-frontier basis only where it is necessary. Therefore a broadcaster should first seek access from a broadcaster established in the same Member State having exclusive rights to the event of high interest to the public.
The notion of general news programmes should not cover the compilation of short extracts into programmes serving entertainment purposes.
The country of origin principle should apply to both the access to, and the transmission of, the short extracts. In a trans-frontier case, this means that the different laws should be applied sequentially. Firstly, for access to the short extracts the law of the Member State where the broadcaster supplying the initial signal (i.e. giving access) is established should apply. This is usually the Member State in which the event concerned takes place. Where a Member State has established an equivalent system of access to the event concerned, the law of that Member State should apply in any case. Secondly, for transmission of the short extracts, the law of the Member State where the broadcaster transmitting the short extracts is established should apply.
- The requirements of this Directive regarding access to events of high interest to the public for the purpose of short news reports should be without prejudice to Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society(21) and the relevant international conventions in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights. Member States should facilitate access to events of high interests to the public by granting access to the broadcaster’s signal within the meaning of this Directive. However, they may choose other equivalent means within the meaning of this Directive. Such means include, inter alia, granting access to the venue of these events prior to granting access to the signal. Broadcasters should not be prevented from concluding more detailed contracts.
- It should be ensured that the practice of media service providers of providing their live television broadcast news programmes in the on-demand mode after live transmission is still possible without having to tailor the individual programme by omitting the short extracts. This possibility should be restricted to the on-demand supply of the identical television broadcast programme by the same media service provider, so it may not be used to create new on-demand business models based on short extracts.
- On-demand audiovisual media services are different from television broadcasting with regard to the choice and control the user can exercise, and with regard to the impact they have on society(22). This justifies imposing lighter regulation on on-demand audiovisual media services, which should comply only with the basic rules provided for in this Directive.
- Because of the specific nature of audiovisual media services, especially the impact of these services on the way people form their opinions, it is essential for users to know exactly who is responsible for the content of these services. It is therefore important for Member States to ensure that users have easy and direct access at any time to information about the media service provider. It is for each Member State to decide the practical details as to how this objective can be achieved without prejudice to any other relevant provisions of Community law.
- The availability of harmful content in audiovisual media services continues to be a concern for legislators, the media industry and parents. There will also be new challenges, especially in connection with new platforms and new products. It is therefore necessary to introduce rules to protect the physical, mental and moral development of minors as well as human dignity in all audiovisual media services, including audiovisual commercial communications.
- Measures taken to protect the physical, mental and moral development of minors and human dignity should be carefully balanced with the fundamental right to freedom of expression as laid down in the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The aim of those measures, such as the use of personal identification numbers (PIN codes), filtering systems or labelling, should thus be to ensure an adequate level of protection of the physical, mental and moral development of minors and human dignity, especially with regard to on-demand audiovisual media services.
The Recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply already recognised the importance of filtering systems and labelling and included a number of possible measures for the benefit of minors, such as systematically supplying users with an effective, updatable and easy-to-use filtering system when they subscribe to an access provider or equipping the access to services specifically intended for children with automatic filtering systems.
- Media service providers under the jurisdiction of the Member States should in any case be subject to a ban on the dissemination of child pornography according to the provisions of Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA of 22 December 2003 on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography(23).
- None of the provisions introduced by this Directive that concern the protection of the physical, mental and moral development of minors and human dignity necessarily requires that the measures taken to protect those interests should be implemented through prior verification of audiovisual media services by public bodies.
- On-demand audiovisual media services have the potential to partially replace television broadcasting. Accordingly, they should, where practicable, promote the production and distribution of European works and thus contribute actively to the promotion of cultural diversity. Such support for European works might, for example, take the form of financial contributions by such services to the production of and acquisition of rights in European works, a minimum share of European works in video-on-demand catalogues, or the attractive presentation of European works in electronic programme guides. It is important to regularly re-examine the application of the provisions relating to the promotion of European works by audiovisual media services. Within the framework of the reports set out under this Directive, Member States should also take into account notably the financial contribution by such services to the production and rights acquisition of European works, the share of European works in the catalogue of audiovisual media services, and in the actual consumption of European works offered by such services.
- When defining producers who are independent of broadcasters as referred to in Article 5 of Directive 89/552/EEC, Member States should take appropriate account notably of criteria such as the ownership of the production company, the amount of programmes supplied to the same broadcaster and the ownership of secondary rights.
- When implementing the provisions of Article 4 of Directive 89/552/EEC, Member States should encourage broadcasters to include an adequate share of co-produced European works or of European works of non-domestic origin.
- It is important to ensure that cinematographic works are transmitted within periods agreed between right holders and media service providers.
- The availability of on-demand audiovisual media services increases the choice of the consumer. Detailed rules governing audiovisual commercial communication for on-demand audiovisual media services thus appear neither to be justified nor to make sense from a technical point of view. Nevertheless, all audiovisual commercial communication should respect not only the identification rules but also a basic tier of qualitative rules in order to meet clear public policy objectives.
- The right of reply is an appropriate legal remedy for television broadcasting and could also be applied in the on-line environment. The Recommendation on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply already includes appropriate guidelines for the implementation of measures in national law or practice so as to ensure sufficiently the right of reply or equivalent remedies in relation to on-line media.
- As has been recognised by the Commission in its interpretative communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the Television without frontiers Directive(24), the development of new advertising techniques and marketing innovations has created new effective opportunities for audiovisual commercial communications in traditional broadcasting services, potentially enabling them better to compete on a level playing-field with on-demand innovations.
- Commercial and technological developments give users increased choice and responsibility in their use of audiovisual media services. In order to remain proportionate with the goals of general interest, regulation should allow a certain degree of flexibility with regard to television broadcasting. The principle of separation should be limited to television advertising and teleshopping, product placement should be allowed under certain circumstances, unless a Member State decides otherwise, and some quantitative restrictions should be abolished. However, where product placement is surreptitious, it should be prohibited. The principle of separation should not prevent the use of new advertising techniques.
- Apart from the practices that are covered by this Directive, Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market(25) applies to unfair commercial practices, such as misleading and aggressive practices occurring in audiovisual media services. Moreover, as Directive 2003/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products(26), which prohibits advertising and sponsorship for cigarettes and other tobacco products in printed media, information society services and radio broadcasting, is without prejudice to Directive 89/552/EEC, in view of the special characteristics of audiovisual media services, the relation between Directive 2003/33/EC and Directive 89/552/EEC should remain the same after the entry into force of this Directive. Article 88(1) of Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use(27) which prohibits advertising to the general public of certain medicinal products applies, as provided in paragraph 5 of that Article, without prejudice to Article 14 of Directive 89/552/EEC. The relation between Directive 2001/83/EC and Directive 89/552/EEC should remain the same after the entry into force of this Directive. Furthermore, this Directive should be without prejudice to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods(28).
- Given the increased possibilities for viewers to avoid advertising through use of new technologies such as digital personal video recorders and increased choice of channels, detailed regulation with regard to the insertion of spot advertising with the aim of protecting viewers is no longer justified. While this Directive should not increase the hourly amount of admissible advertising, it should give flexibility to broadcasters with regard to its insertion where this does not unduly impair the integrity of programmes.
- This Directive is intended to safeguard the specific character of European television, where advertising is preferably inserted between programmes, and therefore limits possible interruptions to cinematographic works and films made for television as well as interruptions to some categories of programmes that still need specific protection.
- The limitation that existed on the amount of daily television advertising was largely theoretical. The hourly limit is more important since it also applies during prime time. Therefore the daily limit should be abolished, while the hourly limit should be maintained for television advertising and teleshopping spots. The restrictions on the time allowed for teleshopping or advertising channels seem no longer justified given increased consumer choice. However, the limit of 20 % of television advertising spots and teleshopping spots per clock hour remains applicable. The notion of a television advertising spot should be understood as television advertising in the sense of Article 1(i) of Directive 89/552/EEC as amended by this Directive having a duration of not more than 12 minutes.
- Surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication is a practice prohibited by this Directive because of its negative effect on consumers. The prohibition of surreptitious audiovisual commercial communication should not cover legitimate product placement within the framework of this Directive, where the viewer is adequately informed of the existence of product placement. This can be done by signalling the fact that product placement is taking place in a given programme, for example by means of a neutral logo.
- Product placement is a reality in cinematographic works and in audiovisual works made for television, but Member States regulate this practice differently. In order to ensure a level playing field, and thus enhance the competitiveness of the European media industry, it is necessary to adopt rules for product placement. The definition of product placement introduced by this Directive should cover any form of audiovisual commercial communication consisting of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a service or the trade mark thereof so that it is featured within a programme, in return for payment or for similar consideration. The provision of goods or services free of charge, such as production props or prizes, should only be considered to be product placement if the goods or services involved are of significant value. Product placement should be subject to the same qualitative rules and restrictions applying to audiovisual commercial communication. The decisive criterion distinguishing sponsorship from product placement is the fact that in product placement the reference to a product is built into the action of a programme, which is why the definition in Article 1(m) of Directive 89/552/EEC as amended by this Directive contains the word within. In contrast, sponsor references may be shown during a programme but are not part of the plot.
- Product placement should, in principle, be prohibited. However, derogations are appropriate for some kinds of programme, on the basis of a positive list. A Member State should be able to opt-out of these derogations, totally or partially, for example by permitting product placement only in programmes which have not been produced exclusively in that Member State.
- Furthermore, sponsorship and product placement should be prohibited where they influence the content of programmes in such a way as to affect the responsibility and the editorial independence of the media service provider. This is the case with regard to thematic placement.
- The right of persons with a disability and of the elderly to participate and be integrated in the social and cultural life of the Community is inextricably linked to the provision of accessible audiovisual media services. The means to achieve accessibility should include, but need not be limited to, sign language, subtitling, audio-description and easily understandable menu navigation.
- According to the duties conferred upon Member States by the Treaty, they are responsible for the transposition and effective implementation of this Directive. They are free to choose the appropriate instruments according to their legal traditions and established structures, and notably the form of their competent independent regulatory bodies, in order to be able to carry out their work in implementing this Directive impartially and transparently. More specifically, the instruments chosen by Member States should contribute to the promotion of media pluralism.
- Close cooperation between competent Member States’ regulatory bodies and the Commission is necessary to ensure the correct application of this Directive. Similarly close cooperation between Member States and between Member States’ regulatory bodies is particularly important with regard to the impact which broadcasters established in one Member State might have on another Member State. Where licensing procedures are provided for in national law and if more than one Member State is concerned, it is desirable that contacts between the respective bodies take place before such licences are granted. This cooperation should cover all fields coordinated by Directive 89/552/EEC as amended by this Directive and in particular Articles 2, 2a and 3 hereof.
- Since the objectives of this Directive, namely creation of an area without internal frontiers for audiovisual media services whilst ensuring at the same time a high level of protection of objectives of general interest, in particular the protection of minors and human dignity as well as promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale and effects of this Directive, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve these objectives.
- In accordance with point 34 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making(29), Member States are encouraged to draw up, for themselves and in the interests of the Community, their own tables illustrating, as far as possible, the correlation between this Directive and the transposition measures, and to make them public,
HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE: