Bolstering European Creativity: Analyzing the AVMS Directive’s Push for European Works

How Europe is Championing its Audiovisual Identity in the Streaming Age


Key Takeaways:

  1. The AVMS Directive’s main aim is to strengthen the European audiovisual industry through enhanced promotion and distribution.
  2. Member States are obligated to prioritize European works on television and on-demand platforms.
  3. The legal definition of ‘European works’ is comprehensive, emphasizing a European origin or collaboration.
  4. A minimum of 10% transmission time or budget is reserved for independent European productions.
  5. Regular reports and guidelines aid Member States in monitoring and implementing the Directive effectively.

Understanding the Drive for European Content

In an age dominated by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, where do European audiovisual creations stand? The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) seeks to answer this question by championing European works in a saturated global market. With the rise of international streaming services, it becomes even more pertinent for Europe to assert its cultural identity and secure its niche in the audiovisual sector.


Promoting European Works: The Ground Rules

The Mandate for Broadcasters

At the heart of the AVMS Directive lies the obligation for Member States to ensure a majority of airtime on television is dedicated to European works. The aim is to bolster the presence of European content, allowing audiences easy access to a rich variety of cultural and linguistic diversity. However, the Directive thoughtfully excludes certain types of broadcasts such as news, sports, and advertisements from this count.

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On-Demand Services: A Diverse Approach

For on-demand platforms, the approach is more multifaceted. The AVMSD underlines the necessity for these platforms to promote European content either by contributing financially to its production or by giving it a notable presence in their content catalogues.

What’s intriguing is the diverse range of strategies adopted by Member States in implementing this. From exhaustive measures to simple nods to the Directive in national legislation, it reflects the unique media landscapes across Europe.


Defining ‘European Works’: Beyond Geographical Borders

What classifies as a ‘European work’? The AVMSD offers a comprehensive legal definition. At its core, these are audiovisual productions that originate within Member States or European countries party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe.

Interestingly, works can also gain the ‘European’ tag through co-productions between the EU and third countries, given they meet specific conditions. This flexibility signifies Europe’s intent to collaborate globally while retaining its audiovisual identity.


A Spotlight on Independent Productions

The heart of any thriving audiovisual industry lies in its independent creators. Recognizing this, Article 17 of the AVMSD mandates broadcasters to dedicate a minimum of 10% of their airtime or program budget to European independent productions. This not only creates avenues for emerging talent but ensures fresh, innovative content for audiences. A noteworthy stipulation is that a significant chunk of content from independent producers should be recent, fostering a culture of constant creation and innovation.


Guidelines, Reports, and the Path Forward

To ensure uniformity and effectiveness in implementing these provisions, the AVMSD provides periodic reporting mechanisms. While broadcasting services are evaluated biennially, on-demand services undergo a review every four years.

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Moreover, the revised guidelines for monitoring Articles 16 and 17 are set in place to assist Member States in gauging their progress, ensuring a holistic and consistent approach across the board.


In Conclusion: The Future of European Works

The AVMS Directive stands as a testament to Europe’s commitment to its audiovisual creators. By offering them a platform and ensuring their prominence in an increasingly competitive market, Europe is not only preserving its rich cultural tapestry but fostering its growth.

As global streaming giants continue to expand, the focus on “european works” will ensure that the distinct voice and identity of European content creators will not be drowned out, but will resonate even louder amidst the cacophony of global offerings. The stage is set for a renaissance of European creativity, and the world is eagerly watching.


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