The European Parliament limits the circulation of online TV services to news programmes

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has drastically reduced the scope of the European regulation which was supposed to open up the possibility to broadcasters of allowing access to programmes online across national borders. Only news and information programmes are set to be available online.

As is the case for cable and satellite TV, the project proposed by the European Commission was intended to allow broadcasters to acquire rights in their home country only for online TV content, whether live or as part of a catch-up service. Licences would then be obtained from the collective management organisations in the country where the broadcaster’s head office was based, even if it means covering the whole European Union.

Public radio broadcasters (EBU) and consumer unions (BEUC) have been less quick to sing the outcome’s praises. For the European Broadcasting Union, the evolutionary approach proposed by Brussels offered a great opportunity to allow Europeans to enjoy more content online across borders. “Limiting the country of origin principle to news and information content will encourage consumers to turn to illegal or non-European services.” The BEUC regrets the missed opportunity to end the geo-blocking of audiovisual content, “it’s especially frustrating for consumers who belong to a linguistic minority and wish to watch films and TV series in their own language.

(from Cineuropa)