38th conference of “The European Platform of Regulatory Authorities”

“The European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) held its 38th conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 3 and 4th of October 2013. Persa Lampropoulou participated in the conference representing the Hellenic Radio-Television Council. Read her full report

The agenda of the Plenary Sessions included subjects such as the “Supervision of VOD Services” and “Assessing Plurality in an On line Environment” while the parallel working groups dealt with issues of Political Communication, Local Community Media and the Spectrum with focus on 700MHz band.
During the first plenary session Mr Andre Lange of the European Audiovisual Observatory briefed the participants on the information collected by Mavise database (on television and audiovisual services, and companies in Europe). The data base, developed by the Observatory in the framework of a contract with the European Commission, is now updated with data of VOD service providers. Mr Lange spoke on the criteria Mavise uses to identify such services (TV-likeness of the service), ways to locate the service providers (usually based on editorial responsibility) and the information entered in the database. Mr Lange stressed out the difficulty NRA’s face to find out the providers under their jurisdiction, to supervise and to enforce European policies in this field.
Mr Emmanuel Gabla (of CSA FR) explained how the French Authority implements the provisions of AVMSD on VOD services and the difficulties faced by the Authority in relation to the registration of such providers. Mr Gabla noted that austere provisions may lead VOD service providers to establish in more friendly jurisdictions and this is something regulators should take into account.
Mr Francesco Sciacchitano (of the Agcom IT) presented the competences of the Italian Authority, which has been established as a converged regulator since 1997, with regard to VOD services. Mr Sciacchitano referred to the blurring boundaries of the audiovisual and telecommunications market and to the challenges regulators face to identify and monitor TV-like audiovisual services. He also referred to the different degrees of regulation that apply to audiovisual services depending on the platform used to deliver it and suggested that regulators should rely more on technology in the future and should try to promote co/self-regulation of the providers of such services.
Ms Dominique Vosters (of CSA BE) noted that the challenge for NRA’s is to identify VOD services rendered in their Jurisdiction. The Authority registers VOD service providers that make a notification. The Authority promotes the positive effects of making such a notification such as the interaction with regulators and other players, giving of guidance to comply with the law and others. VOD service providers are not monitored on a regular basis but ad hoc checks are carried out by the Authority. Ms Vosters also noted that the challenges for NRA’s are linked to converged audiovisual world. She was also of the opinion that EU regulators should examine applying the AVMSD to distributors because they are gaining an advantage in the market.

The subject of the second Plenary Session was “Plurality in an on line environment”.
Ms Peggy Valke (VRM/KU Leuven – ICRI BE) raised the rhetorical question whether the abundance of media encountered in state, regional and local range ensures plurality of speech. Ms Valke maintained that effective access to media should be provided by the state which should establish an appropriate legislative and administrative framework to prevent media concentration. She suggested that National Competition Authorities should assess media concentration also on the basis of the impact that they have on pluralism. Ms Valke stressed that the Internet does not solve the plurality problems. Finally she pointed out that NRA’s that limit their authority to the old media will eventually “die”.
Ms Frederica Casarosa