Commercial broadcasters call for increased recognition of content sector in boosting digital economy
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Brussels, 12 July 2011 – In the context of the CEO-Summit to be held by Commissioner Kroes tomorrow and in the light of the publication of the “Green Paper on the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works”, commercial broadcasters aim to engage with the Commission to find the best ways of embracing online opportunities and delivering targets of the EU Digital Agenda.
Philippe Delusinne, President of the ACT and CEO RTL Belgium, said: “The rules of business should not be abandoned in the online world, as our broadcasters will continue investing in content only with a reasonable chance of return. The engagement of Europe’s content companies will be decisive in persuading consumers to sign up to a digital Europe.“
European television is already “digital”, with twenty European countries having switched to digital TV by the end of 2011. The European TV market was worth €91.7 billion in revenues in 2010 and up to 50% of commercial broadcasters´ revenues are reinvested in content. From a consumer’s perspective TV is and will remain the leading medium. TV viewing time has increased significantly over the past ten years, peaking at 228 minutes on average per person per day in Europe.
Commenting on the expected Green Paper on Audiovisual Works, Ross Biggam, ACT Director General, said: “We are grateful for the opportunity to explain how our industry works in the digital world and how audiovisual content is distributed. It will be important to clearly distinguish between the different rules and needs of the music and the audiovisual sector. It remains crucial to retain the exclusive rights to sell our content and to have the choice of contractual negotiations in which territories to sell our content.“
Attending the CEO-Summit, Fedele Confalonieri, Chairman Mediaset, said: “European broadcasters’ multi-billion investment in original content has created media brands which are trusted for quality programming, meeting the demand of large audiences. We are accountable not only in market terms but also through a thorough regulatory apparatus that guarantees consumers’ rights, protection of minors and editorial responsibility for content distributed across platforms.
New and increasingly complex competition issues are raised, and while we accept that fostering Internet traffic growth is crucial to secure investment in NGN, the Commission should consider that not all traffic is equal: illegal pirated materials generate considerable amounts of traffic which in turn endanger the survival of the stakeholders that finance content at the beginning of the value chain. The concerns about how to justify the long-term investment for new pipes are valid but so too is the concern that we may end up with pipes devoid of professional, European content.”