The AVMSD governs European coordination of National legislation on every aspect of audiovisual media distribution, from Broadcasting to On-demand and OTT services. On leaving the EU, regardless of any negotiated treaty that may or may not materialise, the UK will also leave the AVMSD and the umbrella of benefits it presents for UK corporations distributing content into the EU. In order to maintain the ability to Broadcast freely within the EU, the Network will be required by the Member-State of its choice to establish a corporate, editorial, personnel and Production structure to satisfy that Member-State’s end-to-end requirements as a Broadcasting corporation and content provider.
While attitudes to the interpretation of the AVMSD tend to vary from State to State, overall interpretation is consistent and based on plain text reading of the Directive. While there are a number of rules that may apply to licensing in a particular jurisdiction, none exist that should cause particular concern to the Network or its operations.
Of Key importance to any Network structure are:
- Quotas for European Production;
- The principle of ‘Country of Origin’;
- Location of Editorial Control; and
- Regulation of Advertising Slots.
Country of Origin
The AVMSD sets the base level and criteria by which production(s) qualify as European from a regulatory perspective – The Country of Origin. The current requirements are for 50% European works as a Broadcaster and for carriage of 30% for on-demand platforms. Individual Member-States may impose higher requirements, providing that there is adherence to EU Competition Law and the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). As the majority of the Network’s on-demand (VOD) assets will be the product of previously broadcast content the ability to meet the quota is envisioned. Qualifying criteria include Corporate and Production Location(s), Post-Production, and Nationality of Personnel. The centralisation of Video Editing and VOD/SVOD distribution is being considered to increase the ease with which compliance is met.
Location of Editorial Control
It is expected that the Network can and will satisfactorily demonstrate that there is substantive Editorial control and a decision-making structure existent within its EU operations. The Network intends to establish European operations as a full subsidiary with its own Regional Board. Key Positions within the Network in Europe will be: Chief of European Operations & Bureau; Director of European Compliance; Director of European News & Programming; Director of European News Operations; in addition to the standard regional distribution of Editorial and Production personnel.