EU Panel OKs Video-Sharing Rules Impacting YouTube, Netflix

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By Stephen Gardner

Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube and other video-sharing platforms would be required to implement easier processes in the EU for flagging and removing harmful content, under updated rules approved April 25 by a European Parliament panel.

The Committee on Culture and Education approved, on a 17-9 vote, changes to the European Union’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMDS, 2010/13/EU). The updated directive also would require platforms offering films on demand, such as Netflix Inc., to offer a minimum of 30 percent EU-made content.

Parliament and the EU Council, which represents the governments of EU countries, must agree upon the final text of the regulation for it to advance.

The update to the directive is necessary because “nearly one quarter of internet users stream music or films,” Sabine Verheyen, a Dutch center-right lawmaker and member of the culture committee, said in a statement. “It is of the utmost importance that we adapt the rules for traditional television to the internet, to bring the media world into the century.”

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, proposed changes to the directive in May 2016 to take account of the expansion of online services that provide audiovisual content. The directive dates back to 1989 and was codified in 2010.

Directive’s Scope Extended

The updated directive would require video-sharing platforms to put in place easy-to-use mechanisms to report hate speech and other harmful content, and to track the process of their removal. The directive would also ban the advertising of alcohol and tobacco in content aimed at children.

Wouter Gekiere, deputy head of European affairs for the European Broadcasting Union, which represents public broadcasters, told Bloomberg BNA April 25 that for on-demand providers such as Netflix, “the biggest impact will be the question of quota,” or the proportion of European content in their catalogues.

The European Commission had proposed a minimum of 20 percent EU-made content, as opposed to the culture committee’s 30 percent proposal. Gekiere estimated that between 20 and 30 percent of content Netflix offers in the EU is European.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gardner in Brussels at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

The European Parliament procedure file on the updated directive is available at http://bit.ly/29vMZL9.

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