Culture Committee approves breakthrough in the vote of the 'Television without Frontiers' directive
  14.November 2006

The EP-rapporteur on the 'audiovisual media services' directive, CDU-MEP Ruth Hieronymi was satisfied with the result of the yesterday's vote on the revision of the 'Television without Frontiers' directive. "By the result reached in Culture committee, we managed to give a good and broad basis to the revision of the 'Television without Frontiers' directive; this revision is absolutely necessary due to technological development." It is crucial, that in future TV and TV-like services are not only treated like economic services, in the sense of the e-commerce directive, but would be covered by a 'lex specialis' in form of the 'Television without Frontiers' (TVWF) directive as they are both cultural and economic services. The new TVWF directive would not only cover traditional TV, but also new formats like IP-TV and TV-on-demand.

For the very controversial issue of product placement, a result in favour was reached in Culture Committee, said Ruth Hieronymi, spokeswoman on media policy of EPP-ED. In cinematographic works and serials, products that are placed against compensation and sponsored products need to be identified by an obligatory flash of an indicatory logo. Following the vote of Culture committee such identifications shall be effected at least every 20 minutes. "In result of this vote, the prohibition of product placement, which was favoured by parts of the committee, is no longer an issue, and the competitive disadvantage of European productions against American productions could be removed. "Simultaneously, we agreed on more transparency and information for the viewer, who mostly were not aware of product placement, explained Ruth Hieronymi"

Need for improvement was announced for advertising rules by Ruth Hieronymi. In this field the committee voted for a minimum duration of 45 minutes between advertising breaks and thus different in comparison to the proposal for a directive of the EU-Commission. "The EU-Commission proposed to allow an advertising break for each 35 min period. If the development towards pay-TV should be stopped, then we will need to apply the current restrictive regulation on advertising breaks to the actual situation. Therefore I hope, that in the ongoing procedure, there will be room for negotiation up to the vote in plenary, said the rapporteur, who anticipates the final adoption for the 1st semester in 2007.




:Ruth Hieronymi (EVP-ED/CDU)