Author Topic: EU executive plans new rules for TV programmes  (Read 74 times)

Kal EL

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EU executive plans new rules for TV programmes
« on: December 14, 2005, 09:22:03 AM »
EU executive plans new rules for TV programmes
Tuesday December 13, 05:15 PM

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed new rules to oversee the content of programmes screened on television and over the Web on Tuesday, ushering in a key change to how productions can be financed.

The "television without frontiers" proposals will need the approval of the European Parliament and European Union member states to become law.

The rules will oversee "moving images" in whatever way they are delivered, bringing Web-based or pay-per-view cable television under EU remit, which has hitherto been limited to traditional, scheduled television channels.

"It would be a distortion of competition if we were to just regulate one and not all," EU Information Commissioner Viviane Reding told reporters.

She described the new proposals as offering a "light regulatory touch" in a multi-channel, multi-media age.

Current rules of no more than 12 minutes of advertising per hour will stay, but non-factual programmes will be allowed to use branded products on set to raise cash, a device known as product placement.

Product placement is widely used in the United States to help fund productions, but banned in many EU states.

Many producers have called for it as new technology such as personal video recorders makes it possible for viewers to easily skip traditional advertisements.

Reding's news conference was delayed due to the Commission taking longer than expected to approve the proposals, with some Commissioners feeling they were too liberal.

"There was quite a lively and long-winded debate in the Commission," Reding said, but added no major changes were made to her text.

Some EU lawmakers are expected to say it is too easy on advertisers, and not strong enough in defending European culture against its American counterpart.

Traditional broadcasters complain that the proposed new rules propose a lighter regulatory regime for the new pay-per-view services where viewers can choose what to watch.

In the proposals, the definition of television is ditched in favour of "moving image", with or without sound and distributed by electronic networks, so that moving images over the Internet are also covered.

The new rules also reaffirm that only one member state will have regulatory oversight of a media firm, known as the country of origin rule.