Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-hfldf Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T21:18:41.866Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Reform of the European Community Audiovisual Media Regulation: Television Without Cultural Diversity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2007

Mira Burri Nenova
World Trade Institute, University of Berne, Switzerland. Email:


In the profoundly changing and dynamic world of contemporary audiovisual media, what has remained surprisingly unaffected is regulation. In the European Union, the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS), proposed by the European Commission on 13 December 2005, should allegedly rectify this situation. Amending the existing Television without Frontiers Directive, it should offer a “fresh approach” and meet the challenge of appropriately regulating media in a complex environment. It is meant to achieve a balance between the free circulation of TV broadcast and new audiovisual media and the preservation of values of cultural identity and diversity, while respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality inherent to the European Community (EC). This paper examines whether and how the changes envisaged to the EC audiovisual media regime might influence cultural diversity in Europe. It addresses subseqently the question of whether the new AVMS properly safeguards the balance between competition and the public interest in this regard, or whether cultural diversity remains a mere political banner.Acknowledgements: The present study emerged from my work for the project “eDiversity: The Legal Protection of Cultural Diversity in a Digital Networked Environment,” part of the Swiss National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR): Trade Regulation. This article would not have been possible without the previous work done by Christoph Beat Graber and his valuable comments. Further thanks go to Miriam Sahlfeld for critical feedback on earlier drafts and Susan Kaplan for improving the language. Any errors of fact or interpretation are my own.

Research Article
© 2007 International Cultural Property Society

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Acheson, Keith, and Christopher Maule. “Convention on Cultural Diversity.” Journal of Cultural Economics 28 (2004): 24356.Google Scholar
Achile, Yves, and Bernard Miège. “The Limits of Adaptation Strategies of European Public Service Television.” Media, Culture and Society 16 (1994): 3146.Google Scholar
Adorno, Theodor W. Aesthetic Theory. London: Routledge, 1984.
Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion, 2006.
Ariño, Mónica. “Competition Law and Pluralism in European Digital Broadcasting: Addressing the Gaps.” Communications and Strategies 54 (2004): 97128.Google Scholar
Aylwin, Nicole, and Rosemary J. Coombe. “Cultural Pluralism Protects Traditional Knowledge,” 2006. (accessed May 18, 2007).
Baker, C. Edwin. “Media Concentration: Giving Up on Democracy.” Florida Law Review 54 (2002): 843919.Google Scholar
Benkler, Yochai. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
Blackman, Colin R.Convergence between Telecommunications and Other Media.” Telecommunications Policy, 22 (1998): 16370.Google Scholar
Blumler, Jay G.Vulnerable Values at Stake.” In Television and the Public Interest: Vulnerable Values in Western European Broadcasting, edited by Jay G. Blumler. London: Sage, 1992.
Brynjolfsson, Erik, Yu Hu, and Michael D. Smith. “Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers.” MIT Sloan Working Paper 4305–03 (2003). (accessed May 18, 2007).
Brynjolfsson, Erik. “From Niches to Riches: The Anatomy of the Long Tail.” Sloan Management Review 47 (2006): 6771.Google Scholar
Castells, Manuel. “The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture,” Vol. 1, In The Rise of the Network Society, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.
Craufurd Smith, Rachael. “Article 151 EC and European Identity.” In Culture and European Union Law, edited by Rachael Craufurd Smith, 27797. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Craufurd Smith, Rachael, ed. Culture and European Union Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
de Witte, Bruno. “Trade in Culture: International Legal Regimes and EU Constitutional Values.” In The EU and the WTO—Legal and Constitutional Issues, edited by Gráinne de Búrca and Joanne Scott, 23755. Oxford: Hart, 2003.
Donaldson, John D.‘Television Without Frontiers’: The Continuing Tension between Liberal Free Trade and European Cultural Integrity.” Fordham International Law Journal 20 (1996): 90180.Google Scholar
Drijber, Berend Jan. “The Revised Television without Frontiers Directive: Is it Fit for the Next Century.” Common Market Law Review 36 (1999); 87122.Google Scholar
Esser, Frank. “‘Tabloidization’ of News: A Comparative Analysis of Anglo-American and German Press Journalism.” European Journal of Communication 14 (1999): 291324.Google Scholar
Fischer-Lescano, Andreas, and Gunther Teubner. “Regime-Collisions: The Vain Search for Legal Unity in the Fragmentation of Global Law.” Michigan Journal of International Law 25 (2004): 9991046.Google Scholar
Franklin, Bob. Newszak and News Media. London: Arnold, 1997.
Frieden, Rob. Managing the Internet-Driven Change in International Telecommunications. Boston/London: Artech House, 2001.
Geradin, Damien, and David Luff, eds. The WTO and Global Convergence in Telecommunications and Audio-Visual Services. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Graber, Christoph Beat. Zwischen Geist und Geld; Interferenzen von Kunst und Wirtschaft aus rechtlicher Sicht. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1994.
Graber, Christoph Beat. “Kulturpolitische Auswirkungen eines Schweizer Beitritts zur Europäischen Union—Untersucht am Beispiel des Film—und Fernsehrechts.” In Der Beitritt der Schweiz zur Europäischen Union: Brennpunkte und Auswirkungen, edited by Thomas Cottier and Alwin R. Kopše, 9871024. Zurich: Schulthess, 1998.
Graber, Christoph Beat. Handel und Kultur im Audiovisionsrecht der WTO. Völkerrechtliche, ökonomische und kulturpolitische Grundlagen einer globalen Medienordnung. Berne: Staempfli, 2003.
Graber, Christoph Beat. “The New UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity: A Counterbalance to the WTO.Journal of International Economic Law 9 (2006): 55374.Google Scholar
Graber, Christoph Beat, and Gunther Teubner. “Art and Money: Constitutional Rights in the Private Sphere?Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 18 (1998): 6174.Google Scholar
Graber, Christoph Beat, Michael Girsberger, and Mira Nenova, Free Trade versus Cultural Diversity: WTO Negotiations in the Field of Audiovisual Services. Zurich: Schulthess, 2004.
Graham, David, Adrian Edward, Farid El-Husseini et al. Impact Study of Measures (Community and National) Concerning the Promotion of Distribution and Production of TV Programmes Provided for Under Article 25(a) of the TV Without Frontiers Directive. Final Report Prepared for The Audiovisual, Media and Internet Unit of DG Information Society, Brussels, May 24, 2005.
Herold, Anna. “EU Film Policy: Between Art and Commerce.” European Diversity and Autonomy Papers EDAP 3 (2004).
Hitchens, Lesley P.Identifying European Community Audio-Visual Policy in the Dawn of the Information Society.” In Yearbook of Media and Entertainment Law 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Horlings, Edwin, Chris Marsden, Constantijn van Oranje, and Maarten Botterman. Contribution to Impact Assessment of the Revision of the Television without Frontiers Directive. Report Prepared for DG Information Society and Media of the European Commission, RAND Europe, TR-334-EC DG, 2005.
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: How Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006.
Kroeber, Alfred L., and Clyde Kluckholn. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum, 1952.
Krugman, Paul. Pop Internationalism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.
Larouche, Pierre. “Dealing with Convergence at the International Level.” In The WTO and Global Convergence in Telecommunications and Audio-Visual Services, edited by Damien Geradin and David Luff, 390422. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Levy, David A. L. Europe's Digital Revolution: Broadcasting and Regulation, the EU and the Nation State. London: Routledge, 1999.CrossRef
Liesse, Bruno, and Agnés Maqua, Comparative Study on the Impact of Control Measures on the Televisual Advertising Markets in European Union Member States and Certain Other Countries. Final Report Prepared for the European Commission. Brussels, July 2005.
Longstaff, P. H.New Ways to Think about the Visions Called ‘Convergence’: A Guide for Business and Public Policy.” Program on Information Resources Policy, April 2000.
Marsden, Chris, Jonathan Cave, Edward Nason, Andrew Parkinson, Colin Blackman, and Jason Rutter. Assessing Indirect Impacts of the EC Proposals for Video Regulation. Report Prepared for the United Kingdom Office of Communications, RAND Europe, 2006.
McQuail, Denis. “Commercialisation and Beyond.” In Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration and Commerce, edited by Denis McQuail and Karen Siune, 10727. London: Sage, 1998.
Moreau, François, and Stéphanie Peltier. “Cultural Diversity in the Movie Industry: A Cross-National Study.” Paper Presented at the 6th World Media Economics Conference, Montréal, May 12–15, 2004.
Mueller, Milton L.Digital Convergence and its Consequences: A Report on the Digital Convergence and Market Structures,” 1999. (accessed May 18, 2007).
Mueller, Milton L.Convergence: A Reality Check.” In The WTO and Global Convergence in Telecommunications and Audio-Visual Services, edited by Damien Geradin and David Luff, 31122. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Negrine, Ralph, and Stylianos Papathanassopoulos. The Internationalisation of Television. London: Pinter, 1990.
Nihoul, Paul, and Peter Rodford. EU Electronic Communications Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
O'Regan, Tom, and Ben Goldsmith. “Making Cultural Policy: Meeting Cultural Objectives in a Digital Environment.” Television and New Media 7 (2006): 6891.Google Scholar
O'Reilly, Tim. “What Is Web 2.0? (accessed May 18, 2007).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation, andDevelopment. The Implications of Convergence for Regulation of Electronic Communications. DSTI/ICCP/TISP(2003)5/final. Paris: OECD, 2004.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation, andDevelopment. Digital Broadband Content: Digital Strategies and Policies. DSTI/ICCP/IE(2005)3/FINAL. Paris: OECD, 2006.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation, andDevelopment. The Future Digital Economy: Digital Content Creation, Distribution and Access. DSTI/ICCP/IE(2006=2/ANN, Paris: OECD, 2006.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation, andDevelopment. Information Technology Outlook 2006. Paris: OECD, 2007.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation, and Development. Participative Web: User-Created Content. DSTI/ICCP/IE(2006)7/FINAL. Paris: OECD, 2007.
Ouilette, Laurie, and Justin Lewis. “Moving Beyond the ‘Vast Wasteland’: Cultural Policy and Television in the United States.” Television and New Media 1 (2000): 95115.Google Scholar
Papathanassopoulos, Stylianos. European Television in the Digital Age. Cambridge: Polity, 2002.
PEW Internet, andAmerican Life Project. The Future of the Internet II. Washington, DC: PEW Internet and American Life Project, 2006. (accessed May 18, 2007).
Pfetsch, Barbara. “Convergence through Privatization? Changing Media Environments and Televised Politics in Germany.” European Journal of Communications 14 (1996): 42751.Google Scholar
Romano, Gaetano. “Technologische, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Entwicklungen der audiovisuellen Medienmärkte in den letzten Jahren.” In Free Trade versus Cultural Diversity: WTO Negotiations in the Field of Audiovisual Services, edited by Christoph Beat Graber, Michael Girsberger, and Mira Nenova, 113. Zurich: Schulthess, 2004.
Rössler, Patrick, and Julia Bacher. “Transcultural Effects of Product Placement in Movies.” Zeitschrift für Medienpsychologie 14 (2002): 98108.Google Scholar
Rosendorf, Neal M.Social and Cultural Globalization: Concepts, History, and America's Role.” In Governance in a Globalizing World, edited by Joseph S. Nye and John D. Donahue, 10934. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000.
Schlesinger, Philip. “Television Production, Audio-Visual Policy and the Creative Industries.” Paper presented at the Television; Past, Present and Future Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, December 3, 2000.
Scott, Joanne. “Mandatory or Imperative Requirements in the EU and the WTO.” In The Law of the Single European Market: Unpacking the Premises, edited by Catherine Barnard and Joanne Scott, Oxford: Hart, 2002.
Shirkey, Clay. “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality.” In Extreme Democracy, edited by Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe, 4652, 2003. (accessed May 18, 2007).
Slot, Piet Jan. “Harmonisation.” European Law Review 21 (1996): 37896.Google Scholar
Smiers, Joost. Arts under Pressure. New York: Zed Books, 2004.
Spaventa, Eleanor. “On Discrimination and the Theory of Mandatory Requirements.” Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 3 (2000): 45778.Google Scholar
Stuyck, Jules. “Annotation on Cases C-34/95, C-35/95 and C-36/95 Konsumentombudsmannen (KO) v. De Agostini (Svenska) Förlag AB and TV-Shop I Sverige AB, ECR [1997] I-03843.” Common Market Law Review 34 (1997): 144568.Google Scholar
Walden, Ian, and John Angel, eds. Telecommunications Law and Regulation, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Webster, Frank. Theories of Information Society. London: Routledge, 1995.
Westphal, Dietrich. “Media Pluralism and European Regulation.” European Business Law Review (2002): 45987.Google Scholar
Wheeler, Mark. “Supranational Regulation: Television and the European Union.” European Journal of Communication 19 (2004): 34969.Google Scholar
World Intellectural Property Organization, Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property, and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, Consolidated Analysis of the Legal Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions, WIPO/GRTKF/IC/5/3. Geneva: WIPO, 2003.