PositionTelevision Without Frontiers

Aadelicate balance was struck on 13 December at the European Parliament (first reading, co-decision procedure) between the modernisation of audiovisual media and the relaxation of advertising rules. For Parliament's rapporteur on the proposal for a review of the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive, Ruth Hieronymi (EPP-ED, Germany), the principal aim is to update the text's scope in order to guarantee the economic viability of these services on the internal market. She nevertheless stipulated that this exercise might be repeated in three years' time to adapt the legislation to the further evolution of new media. The rapporteur was able to claim real success on a large number of points, enabling her to push through a position very close to that taken by EU ministers.


MEPs above all moved towards the line taken by EU ministers on advertising, backing the rapporteur's amendment proposing 30-minute commercial breaks (commercials and/or teleshopping) - instead of the 45 minutes proposed by Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education - in television dramas, feature films, children's programmes and news broadcasts (see Europolitics 3210). French MEPs from across the political spectrum expressed their disappointment in this regard. Marie-Helene Descamps (EPP-ED, France) claimed to be flabbergasted, emphasising the "problem of compression" in films and television dramas and insisting the French would have accepted the 35 minutes proposed by the Commission. They nevertheless welcome provisions inviting member states to also ensure the promotion of European works athrough new media outlets.

"Cuts of 35 minutes represent nothing for television," according to Bertrand Cazes, spokesman for theaEuropean Group of Television Advertising (EGTA), notably welcoming the "deregulation" of advertising during films and television dramas. EGTA has likewise welcomed the principle of separation of advertising. MEPs have proposed that advertising and teleshopping should be "easily identifiable" as such and clearly distinguished from other programmes by optical and/or acoustic means. EGTA claims this will introduce principles liable to frame new advertising formats such as split screens'. Regarding product placement [the inclusion of brands in programmes], advertisers are likewise rubbing their hands since they believe the vote on 13 December opens the way to future legalisation of this advertising technique.

MEPs backed the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT