New EU Law Proposes 30 Percent European Content Quota for SVODs


The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached a preliminary agreement to revise the rules that apply to audiovisual content across the region, including a proposal that would require at least 30 percent of the content on paid on-demand services be European.

The revised legislation will apply to broadcasters, but also to video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms, such as Netflix, YouTube and Facebook, as well as to the live streaming on video-sharing platforms.

In order to support the cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector, European Parliament has proposed that 30 percent of content should be European, also in the video-on-demand platforms’ catalogs. VOD platforms are also asked to contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions, either through a direct investment in content or a contribution to national funds. The level of contribution in each country “should be proportional to their on-demand revenues in that country,” the measure states.

Another part of legislation involves protecting minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising. Members of Parliament introduced “effective and efficient” new rules into the law that prohibit any content inciting violence, hatred and terrorism, while gratuitous violence and pornography will be subject to the strictest rules. Video-sharing platforms will be responsible for reacting quickly when content is reported or flagged by users as harmful, in addition to co-regulation and self-regulation efforts.

The new rules impose a maximum 20 percent quota of advertising of the daily broadcasting period between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., “giving the broadcaster the flexibility of adjusting their advertising periods.” A prime-time window between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. was also set out, during which advertising will only be allowed to take up a maximum of 20 percent of broadcasting time.

EP negotiator Petra Kammerevert said: “We made major breakthroughs in the negotiations and now have a political agreement on all pending key issues. The outcome is well balanced, especially with regard to the scope of the directive, including video-sharing platforms and audiovisual content on social media, a more level playing field for all communication stakeholders, and protection of European works.”

EP negotiator Sabine Verheyen said: “By applying similar rules to similar services, irrespective of whether the media content is consumed online or offline, we have made EU regulation fit for the digital era. Protecting children and minors has always been a top priority for us. We have now negotiated a level of protection for internet media services similar to that in place for traditional broadcast media. The transparency rules on advertising, and in particular on product placement and sponsorship, now also apply to user-generated content uploaded to video-sharing platforms. This will protect consumers, especially children and minors.”