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Digital Agenda for Europe: Statements from ACT and EBU

European Commission Adopts Digital Agenda

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) as well as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU have responded to today’s adoption of the Digital Agenda. The EU 2020 Strategy rightly recognised the Digital Agenda as one of seven flagship initiatives needed to stimulate growth. The creative industries, including commercial and public television, play a crucial role in that initiative, contributing to the European economy and employing millions of workers, but also by promoting democracy, original creative content, linguistic diversity and media pluralism. As indicated in the Digital Agenda attractive content plays an important role in stimulating investment in faster networks.

ACT Positive about Action for a Competitive Europe and a Thriving Digital Single Market

Philippe Delusinne, ACT President & CEO RTL Belgium, commented: “I congratulate Commissioner Kroes and her colleagues for the presentation of the Digital Agenda, an ambitious roadmap for action in the mid- and long-term. Europe’s broadcasters are already embracing the challenges of innovation and investment in legal offers, with no fewer than 720 on-demand services now offering audiovisual content in Europe alongside a total of 7,200 European television channels at the end of 2009. In other words, we are responding to the fast pace of technological change and a challenging economic environment. Above all, we need to be clear that this debate is not about the pipes, it is rather about the content which flows down the pipes – it is great content, not great software engineering, which makes the Digital Agenda attractive to European consumers”.

In this context commercial broadcasters welcome the following points in the Digital Agenda:

• The Commission recognition of the need to distinguish between different forms of online content; i.e., between sectors such as music and audiovisual facing specific challenges and requirements.

• It is crucial for future investment in creative content and services that contractual freedom of rightsholders will be preserved.

• Commercial broadcasters welcome the Commission’s idea to initiate a broad stakeholder dialogue about online content services to listen to the different views of stakeholders. The Commission’s intention to take action to improve the governance and transparency of collective rights management may also assist some of the industry’s long-standing concerns.

• Finally, the ACT supports the Commission’s plans to take action on piracy, an important initiative to ensure the creation of and investment in creative content in the future. Despite the great availability of legal online offers today, piracy still poses one of the crucial challenges for our industry as a whole.

When evaluating the Digital Agenda Ross Biggam, Director General ACT, said: “There are very important policy initiatives laid down in the document, on which we are very much looking forward to working with the EU institutions. In particular, we look forward to the opportunity of explaining to the Commission, in the context of the new Green Paper on Audiovisual Content how copyright is evolving – as indeed it has done for the past 300 years – to meet the new technological challenges. We are more cautious about suggestions made to harmonise spectrum policy. Here, the fact that media markets are so diverse due to their structural and economic conditions and history that the introduction of a European approach would simply ignore national circumstances. The respect for national markets and the application of the subsidiarity principle should be the guiding principle when considering any action on these dossiers”.

EBU: Public Service Media for a Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Agenda for Europe

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the world’s leading broadcasting association, welcomes the adoption of the Commission's ambitious action plan on the Digital Agenda as an important step forward in developing Europe's digital information society.

Today, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes presented a five-year plan addressing issues including digital copyright, spectrum management and net neutrality.

Through the universal provision of high-quality content and information, public service media (PSM) are important facilitators of a sustainable and inclusive digital society. Investment in content is key (PSM contribute 10 billion Euros per year) as citizens tend to embrace new technologies only if they can access high quality content.

"Public service broadcasters are investing substantially in quality content which will help to ensure a more inclusive and sustainable digital information society for the benefit of all citizens," Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), said in a statement.

In particular, concerning the copyright provisions in the action plan, the EBU welcomes the Commission’s plan to simplify copyright clearance, management and cross border licensing. The modernization of the current copyright clearance system for audiovisual media would encourage innovation and ensure that audiences can legally access media content on a range of new digital platforms, therefore facilitating the development of a successful Digital Agenda. When updating the existing framework, the EBU urges the Commission to adopt a sectoral approach which respects all right holders.

The EBU also looks forward to contributing to the Commission's Green Paper on online distribution of audiovisual works and other creative content by 2010.

Concerning spectrum management, the EBU welcomes the EU's work on frequency policy based on the renewed telecom package and on the principle of spectrum efficiency. Public broadcasters encourage the Commission to adopt an overall balanced and comprehensive approach which takes into account cultural, social and economic aspects. Compliance with the rules agreed on in the ‘Telecom Package’ should be reflected in the upcoming European Spectrum Policy Programme.

The EBU believes that digital terrestrial television is key to the EU’s audiovisual policyobjectives as it is essential for making content available to as many EU citizens as possible andfor fulfilling important economic as well as social and cultural functions. Broadcasters need adequate spectrum to deliver DTT and offer new broadcasting services (e.g. HDTV, 3D, mobile TV, etc) tailored to the evolving needs and legitimate expectations of citizens.

Finally, the EBU also endorses the principle of the neutrality of the Internet and fully supports the Commission's intention to closely monitor the implementation of the new legislative provisions on the openness and neutrality of the internet.


About ACT

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) represents the interests of the commercial broadcasting sector in Europe. Formed in 1989, the ACT has thirty member companies active in 34 European countries. Our members operate several hundred free-to-air and pay-tv channels and distribute many more channels and new services. The ACT members encompass several business models: free-to-air broadcasters and pay-TV players, digital platform operators and multimedia groups.

Association of Commercial Television in Europe


About EBU

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) serves 86 national media organizations from 56 countries in and around Europe. It promotes the values and distinctiveness of public service media in Europe and around the world. It brings news, sports, events and music to your home through the Eurovision and Euroradio networks. The EBU develops and shares best practices, media expertise and innovation. It produces and exchanges rich and diverse programmes across all media.

European Broadcasting Union