The “trilogue” discussions between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the SMA (audiovisual media services) Directive, which began almost a year ago, have now reached a balanced and ambitious agreement. This text marks a new stage in audiovisual regulation. It responds perfectly to France’s desire to promote cultural diversity, finance creation and protect audiences.
Video-on-demand services, such as Netflix, will now be required to offer at least 30% of European works in their catalogue. Under the impetus of France, the Council and Parliament wanted to go beyond the initial proposal which provided for a minimum quota of 20%.
Second, the text requires TV channels and video-on-demand services to contribute to the financing of creation in the country they target regardless of their country of establishment. This will remedy distortions of competition and prevent opportunistic offshoring. Above all, it will protect the funding of our creation.
Finally, the field of audiovisual regulation is extended to video sharing platforms, such as Youtube, which were not included. From now on, they will have to take measures to protect young audiences and combat hate and violent content, including when it is broadcast live. Audiovisual regulators in the Member States will have to monitor the reality and effectiveness of these measures. This is an essential first step towards platform accountability.
The text still has to be formally approved by the Council and then by Parliament. It will be transposed into French law as part of the audiovisual bill to be presented at the end of 2018.
The Minister would like to thank the European Commission, whose draft text made it possible to launch the negotiations on a good basis, the European ministers of culture who supported France’s fight for a modernized and ambitious regulation, as well as the European Parliament and in particular the two co-rapporteurs, Mrs Kammerevert and Mrs Verheyen, who have shown a great sense of dialogue and a strong attachment to the cultural and societal issues of the audiovisual sector.