The new Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive provides that if a member state requires financial contributions from national audiovisual media services providers in favour of EU works (including direct investments in EU works or contributions to national funds to sustain audiovisual production), it can also impose these contributions on non-national European media service providers (linear and on-demand) under certain conditions.
Cullen International has just published a new benchmark tracking the countries that already impose cross-border financial contributions or are discussing this option in the context of the implementation of the directive.
Among the 14 countries covered, it shows that 7 countries already have (or are introducing) financial/investment obligations on TV channels and/or on-demand service providers.
The systems vary considerably between member states in terms of operators concerned and financial/investment obligations. For instance:
- Belgium (Flanders) requires non-national VOD providers that earn more than €500.000 a year in Flanders to choose between investing into Flemish original productions or pay a levy to the Flanders Audiovisual Fund
- In Italy, non-national VOD providers are required to invest at least 12.5% of their annual net revenues (but the regulator has the power to increase the obligation to max 20%) in independent EU works.
Various solutions are currently under discussion to address potential compliance difficulties, including:
- requiring non-national providers to appoint a legal representative in the country (France)
- imposing a lump sum contribution on service providers who fail to cooperate (Belgium Wallonia)
- preventing distributors from carrying the non-national services that do not comply with the financial obligations.
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