EU Commission to Consult on Internet/TV Convergence

April 23, 2013

According to the EU Commission, there are more than 40.4 million ‘connected TVs’ in the EU, and they could be in the majority of EU households by 2016. The sweeping away of the traditional boundaries between consumers, broadcast media and the Internet have encouraged the Commission to explore what this convergence of technology and content could mean for Europe’s economic growth and innovation, cultural diversity, and consumers (especially those that may need protection, such as children).

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President said:

‘Connected TV is the next big thing in the creative and digital worlds. Convergence between sectors means people can enjoy a wider choice of great content – but it also creates disruptions and challenges. We need a converged and EU-wide debate to help deal with these changes. To help business flourish, nurture creativity and protect our values.’

A Green Paper adopted by the Commission invites stakeholders and the wider public to share their views between now and 31 August 2013.


The EU Commission press release goes on to identify the following specific issues:

1.            The rules of the game. Fostering the right conditions for dynamic EU businesses to deal with international (especially US) competition; especially given that competing players may be subject to different rules;

2.            Protecting European values (including media freedom) and user interests (e.g. protecting children, accessibility for users with disabilities). Do people expect higher protection for TV programmes than for internet content; and where is the line to be drawn?

3.            Single market and standards. Seemingly, some devices do not work the same way across Member States. How can we promote the right technological environment?

4.            Financing. How will convergence and changing consumer behaviour influence how films, TV shows and other content is financed? How are different actors in the new value-chain contributing?

5.            Openness and media pluralism. Should pre-defined filtering mechanisms, for example in search engines, be subject to public intervention? Are the existing practices relating to premium content – for example, major sport events and successful recently released films – at wholesale level affecting market access and sustainable business operations? Are platforms sufficiently open?

According to the Commission, the Green Paper does not pre-suppose any action, but in following up, the Commission might explore regulatory and policy responses, including self-regulation.

The European legislation which may be affected by follow-up to this Green Paper is mainly the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) (2010/13/EU. As convergence with online services progresses, the Green Paper asks whether the current approach will also be appropriate in the future.

The Commission has also recently launched related public consultations on media freedom and pluralism, and in particular on the independence of audiovisual regulatory bodies (see IP/13/267).

See also MEMO/13/371, a series of responses to Frequently Asked Questions on this issue and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

E-mail ( for contributions on Green Paper on Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values