Europe's Digital Revolution: Broadcasting Regulation, the EU and the Nation State

Europe's Digital Revolution: Broadcasting Regulation, the EU and the Nation State

Europe's Digital Revolution: Broadcasting Regulation, the EU and the Nation State

Europe's Digital Revolution: Broadcasting Regulation, the EU and the Nation State

Synopsis

Europe's Digital Revolution assesses the impact of digital broadcasting on regulatory practices in Europe. The current roles and responsibilities of nation states and the EU will have to respond to rapid technological and market developments. Levy considers how these responsibilities are likely to be divided in the future, and which are the emerging issues and problems.

Excerpt

Converging technologies, changing markets

The European media industry is in a period of change. What were previously national markets are becoming international in nature. Single sector media companies are merging into multi sector conglomerates. the industry is becoming more competitive, as companies from the it and telecommunications markets, and new media specialists, enter the fray.

(McGarvey 1997:1)

The fast rate of technological change characterising the communications industry, the rapid emergence of new services and new market opportunities, and in particular the convergence between broadcasting and telecommunications, is continuously calling for new policy initiatives.

(OECD, 1997c: 19)

Analogue broadcasting was characterised by limited channel choice, the need for the viewer to fit in with the schedulers, and a clear understanding that the television was simply a device for watching broadcast programmes. Digitalisation will create the possibility of hundreds of channels, convert the television set into a multipurpose/multimedia terminal, and allow viewers to become their own schedulers, watching programmes when they want and, in time, even interacting with the programmes themselves. Two forces are driving broadcasters and other media companies to invest in digital technology and new programme rights. the first is the belief that viewers can be persuaded to pay much more for television: through increased channel choice, charging for programmes currently viewed freeto-air, and using live sport, first release films and 'adult' programming to drive the take-up of pay-TV. Second is the conviction that the television, as the most ubiquitous household consumer device, will become the conduit through which an ever increasing variety of information will be conveyed and transactions conducted. No one can be certain about the degree to which these predictions will be realised. Indeed, one of the greatest commercial risks within the current enthusiasm for digital technology is that

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