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ATO - Asociace televizních organizací News ATO organises lecture on planned amendment to EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)

ATO organises lecture on planned amendment to EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)


The Association of Television Organisations (ATO), which associates Czech operators of public and commercial television broadcasting, organised a lecture yesterday for the professional public on the topic of the planned amendment to the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). A presentation was given by Mr Conor Murray, Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs at EGTA.

In the first part of the lecture, Conor Murray described the situation and trends on the audiovisual media market in Europe and the world. He stressed that the process of media convergence is continuing, with classic television and other types of media fighting over the same audience, and that the importance of globally operated platforms is ever-growing on the video market, with these not being specifically regulated, in contrast to television or on-demand services, even though their products are comparable to television shows in terms of form and content. The issue of redressing or at least approximating the level of regulation is thus in Conor Murray's opinion a matter of survival for traditional TV stations.

The second part of the lecture directly concerned the amendment to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), the primary aim of which is to react to these very changes taking place on the market. Conor Murray stated that on 22 March 2016, the EP Committee on Culture is to discuss the amendment, and that its position will be crucial for the EP's decision. He also mentioned that with regard for the planned changes, it would be good for Member States to wait for the final form of the amendment before adopting any premature national adjustments. In addition to this, he drew attention to several tendencies and proposed amendments to the bill which, though led by good intentions, could significantly damage the European media market and audiences. One particular such danger is the attempt to preserve the existing advertising limits for traditional television stations, restrict commercial communications promoting foods high in fat, sugar or salt, and to even further restrict commercial communications that could have an impact on child audiences, without even providing space for self-regulation or co-regulation. These attempts could also endanger the financing of original television production, particularly for commercial stations, and increase the flow of viewers leaving television for non-regulated platforms.

"We welcome every opportunity that raises the necessary awareness among the professional public and authorities responsible for legislation and provides current information from the EU," said Petr Dvořák, General Director of Czech Television and President of ATO. "We hope that this lecture was not the last and that the Czech Republic will lobby at the EU level for solutions that realistically take into account the changes in the market and help further develop the media sector in Europe and the Czech Republic," added Marek Singer, General Director of TV Prima. "We share the opinion of Conor Murray of the EGTA that the Czech Republic should wait with adopting an amendment to the Radio and Television Broadcasting Act until the final version of the AVSMD is ready," concluded TV NOVA Executive Jan Vlček.