The European Scrutiny Committee raises serious questions in its report chapter on the modernisation of the EU Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).
Framework changes needed to reflect technological developments
As part of its Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission proposes to revise the regulatory framework which governs the operation of the Single Market for broadcasting to ensure that it reflects recent technological developments, such as the growth of on-demand services such as Netflix and video-sharing platforms such as YouTube.
The EU Internal Market for broadcasting is highly integrated: the AVMSD permits a broadcaster that is compliant in the Member State in which it is established to broadcast freely to the other 27. In combination with the UK's strengths in the creative sector and favourable business ecosystem, this has enabled the UK to become the overwhelming destination for international broadcasters seeking to access the EU market.
In contrast to the level of integration within the EU broadcasting market, broadcasting is one of the least liberalised sectors in global trade.
Clarity needed on impact to UK-based international broadcasters
The UK government has said that the automatic fallback to Single Market rules—the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television—excludes online services, does not include effective enforcement mechanisms, and does not include six Member States. The EU also excludes broadcasting from its FTAs and WTO commitments, because of the "cultural exception".
The Committee is asking the government to clarify what impact the failure to secure a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will have on UK-based international broadcasters.
It also asks how many jobs depend, in the Government's estimate, on the ability of UK-based international broadcasters to retain current levels of market access to the EU market.