Magazine article Marketing

When Legislators Become No More Than Bystanders

Magazine article Marketing

When Legislators Become No More Than Bystanders

Article excerpt

The efforts of the European institutions to protect and promote European culture have always been acutely disturbing. The first EC "Culture Council" in 1982 saw serious Government ministers discussing with a straight face the economic problems of usherettes. Twelve years on, the Commission is still trying to protect the virtue of European culture from the crazy Yank with too much money -- and still it fails. But the courageous attempts are getting unrealistic and damaging.

Consider the revision of the Broadcasting Directive. The original Directive was a worthy attempt to stay within at least a few years of technological development, and was soundly guided through the House of Commons by a Mr Mellor. Since so much has happened in the past 50 months to revolutionise our media options, a revision of the broadcasting rules has, in retrospect, already been long overdue.

New media companies need new provisions: the Commission is to propose them. The Portuguese Commissioner Joao Pinheiro proposes to enhance and extend the 50% rule on European productions for broadcasters. This restriction will inhibit the growth of new programming in Europe, making advertising less efficient at a crucial time in the development of new media alternatives.

The proposals are known to be based on the French government's media policy agenda -- an agenda that has caused well-documented mayhem in French TV. Another proposal is that teleshopping must consist of programmes not less than 15 minutes long. This is probably because good, cultured Europeans must never be subjected to the distressing abuse of a direct sales offer on prime-time TV. …

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