The European television business has never been healthier. European consumers, despite the vast array of competing demands for their leisure time, are watching more television than ever before – on average, 228 minutes per day in 2010, the tenth successive year in which that key indicator had increased. European broadcasting is today an €84 billion sector – but, crucially, a sector which reinvests up to 50% of its revenues back into content – whether this is sport, news, entertainment programmes, movie rights or documentaries.
In inviting e‐Media Institute to write this study, we sought to respond to some recent thinking at the European Commission.
The e‐Media Institute research is intended to be read in conjunction with the formal response of the Association of Commercial Television to the European Commission consultation on the "Green Paper on Audiovisual Content" ‐ COM(2011) 427.
e‐Media were asked to examine four broad areas
To conclude, the European Commission is posing a range of very pertinent questions at a crucial time in the development of our sector. It is a common belief in the media business that the television sector is a vehicle for growth and innovation. But at a time when our sector is changing faster than ever, and being scrutinised more than ever by EU regulators, we felt the need to illustrate via this report the benefits that the commercial broadcasters' multi‐billion euros' annual investment in original content can bring to the European economy.
We believe that we share with the European Commission at least some starting points: most importantly,neither we nor the Commission wish to see regulators intervening to shore up specific business models. If consumers wish to see a different form or content, or the same content via a new platform or in a new way, it is our duty to anticipate and serve that demand, rather than it being the role of the EU to protect the established way of doing things. In its "EU Digital Agenda" from 2010 and the more recent "Green Paper on Audiovisual Content" of July 2011, the European Commission has rightly restricted its role to asking questions of broadcasters and other operators. Running through many of these questions is a clear theme: are current arrangements for the production and distribution of audiovisual content optimal in ensuring consumer satisfaction, and in encouraging European players to exploit the full potential of the Internet?
We hope that e‐Media Institute's work provides evidence for our answer to these questions, and look forward to continuing the debate.