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Commercial Broadcasters Support Commission Green Paper on Creative Industries

When responding to the Commission consultation on theGreen Paper on Creative & Cultural Industries presented by DG Education and Cultureearlier this year, the Association of Commercial Television in Europe welcomed the recognition of the creative sector as a central part of theDigital Agenda and the wider EU economy as laid down in the EU 2020 Strategy.

Commenting on the Commission Green Paper, Ross Biggam, Director General ACT,said: “This Green Paper is a welcome contribution to the ongoing debate about the newdigital economy, and the respective roles of creative content, networks and public authoritiesin that economy. At the EU level, this debate is of course largely centered around the EU’sDigital Agenda, and we regard this Green Paper as a welcome signal that the interests of thecreative sector will remain centre stage in the Digital Agenda”.

The ACT would like to highlight the most relevant points in the Green Paper:

The ACT welcomes the inclusive nature of the definition of “creative and culturalindustries”, clearly capturing the production and distribution of televisionprogramming within its definition.

It is crucial to protect professionally-produced content.

Despite the economic downturn, European commercial broadcasters continue todevelop a wide range of new and innovative business models. In the past three years,720 new on-demand and catch-up audiovisual services have been launched in Europeand broadcasters are investing in High Definition content and, increasingly, in 3Dbroadcasts. Hybrid devices will shortly be launched.

Piracy continues to threat the continued existence of the broadcasting sector andlimits its potential to generate jobs and investment. The ACT relies on the support ofthe Commission in ensuring that rights holders have the necessary tools to enforceIPR. Without adequate protection of its assets, the creative sector will find it verydifficult to deliver its full contribution to economic growth and innovation.

Audiovisual content is available to European consumers on multiple platforms(terrestrial, cable, satellite, IPTV, mobile, etc.) and through multiple devices. Thissystem works well in practice. The existing licensing model for rights has beendeveloped through commercial negotiations over many years, provides stakeholderswith the flexibility required to license rights (for broadcasting and other means ofdistribution) on a national, linguistic or multi-territorial basis, according tocommercial requirements. Territorial exclusivity will continue to underpin thebusiness models of a large number of media service providers and rights holders. Thisdoes not, however, preclude industry from adopting EU-wide or multi-territorylicensing models where there is a commercial basis to do so. There is, therefore, noneed to foster the multi-territory circulation of audiovisual content.

The commercial television sector does not call for significant new financial supportfor the creative industries. While targeted, time-specific financial instruments such asthe MEDIA Programme can play a useful role, ACT members would caution thatsystematic, long-term state funding of creative industries is not the optimum way forregulators to intervene to support the creative sector.


About the ACT

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) represents the interests of the commercialbroadcasting sector in Europe. Formed in 1989, the ACT has twenty-nine member companies active in34 European countries. Our members operate several hundred free-to-air and pay-tv channels anddistribute many more channels and new services. The ACT members encompass several businessmodels: free-to-air broadcasters and pay-TV players, digital platform operators and multimedia groups.