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Is online video like television? New white paper launched today demonstrates that the policing of TV and internet services requires a ‘three layer approach’

TVHogan Lovells and leading TMT consultancy Analysys Mason have launched a white paper today which argues for retaining a ‘three layer approach’ to video regulation in the face of ongoing changes to how video content is consumed by viewers.

After a preliminary political agreement was reached on revision of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, the white paper, “TV Regulation in a Digital Age”, explores the ongoing tensions between television and Internet regulation. These tensions are unlikely to disappear, particularly as member states transpose the revised AVMS Directive into national laws, and discuss additional measures to tackle fake news.

Due to be adopted later this year, the revised AVMS Directive will continue to apply to television broadcasters and on-demand services like Netflix. In addition, and for the first time, video-sharing platforms are also intended to be captured by the Directive.

Winston Maxwell, Partner at Hogan Lovells, commented: “Political agreement on the revised AVMS directive is an important first step – but there will be pressure within member states to do more, particularly around fake news.” 

“Strengthening regulation by indiscriminately extending rules – that were designed for traditional TV -to online content, will simply not work. Internet regulation is different, and should remain so.”  

David Abecassis, Partner at Analysys Mason, commented: “Digital transformation is impacting virtually every single industry. There are significant differences between traditional TV and online video platforms, and it is interesting to see how these differences will be reflected in media regulations moving forward.” 

Michael Kende, Senior Adviser at Analysys Mason, added: “Our report provides a detailed analysis of this subject and looks back at developments in TV and on the Internet over the last 15 years. This kind of ‘whole view’ is what is required to keep this industry innovative. We need to be very cautious around any debates which suggest that regulation around the two should be merged in any way.”

Alberto Bellan, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells, stressed that “although the final version of the Directive agreed upon in the trialogue has not been published yet, the negotiation documents and press releases seem to cast a scenario where many Internet services could be classified as video-sharing platforms, thus making a balanced approach even more urgent”.

To mark the launch of the white paper, Winston Maxwell and Alberto Bellan (Hogan Lovells), David Abecassis and Michael Kende (Analysys Mason) hosted a webinar on 15 May 2018. A recording can be found here.

A copy of the report can be found here.