The drastic changes in the media landscape made over the past years continue to rock the traditional TV sector. Family TV is being replaced rapidly by content online, on demand and on different mobile devices. The global internet video share by consumers is expected to increase from 64% in 2014 to 80% by 2019 (according to Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021).
These developments brought the EU legislator to agree on the modernization of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive or AVMSD, "to create a regulatory environment that is fairer for all players in the audiovisual sector, including more flexibility to broadcasters in terms of advertising, protecting minors and tackling hate speech in all audiovisual content, better promoting European audiovisual productions and ensuring the independence of audiovisual regulators." (quote press release European Commission).
Part of the rules that already applied to traditional broadcast and to Video On Demand produces such as Netflix now also extend to Facebook, YouTube and other video sharing platforms.
According to the EU, video sharing platforms rules apply to all audiovisual content shared on social media and to standalone parts of for example newspapers websites which feature audiovisual programme or user-generated videos.
Obligations Video Sharing Platform
Facebook and other VSP's will have to put in place measures to:
(i) protect minors from harmful content (which may impair the physical, mental or moral development); access to which would have to be restricted; and
(ii) protect the general public from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences (public provocation to commit terrorist offences, child pornography and racism or xenophobia).
In addition, under the revised Directive, video-sharing platforms would also have to respect certain obligations for the commercial communications they are responsible for and to be transparent about commercial communications that are declared by the users when uploading content that contains such commercial communications.
Member States are able to adopt stricter rules for video-sharing platforms under their jurisdiction. Any measures under the new rules will need to remain compatible with the liability exemption for digital intermediaries provided in the E-Commerce Directive.
The measures listed in the Directive that video-sharing platforms will need to put in place complement the E-Commerce Directive: this includes flagging and reporting mechanisms, age verification systems, systems to rate the content by the uploaders or users, or parental control systems, as well as clarification in the terms and conditions of the platform of a prohibition for users to share the content citizens should be protected from.
What are the next steps?
The revised AVMSD will be formally adopted in autumn 2018. Once formally adopted and following the date of publication in the Official Journal, Member States will have 21 months to transpose the new Directive into their national legislation.