DIGITAL Technologies, DIGITAL laws&Digital Mentality?

How to innovate the European audiovisual and media sector?

Evgeniia Totmianina, Sarah Rungo, Leonardo Scarcella, Guillaume Adamo, Nina van der Giessen, Manuel Perez.

European policy developments and audiovisual markets are under siege: GDPR regulation, the Digital Single Market, and Brexit are at stake. Professors Pawels and Loisen suggests, that after too many partially failed attempts some results leading to a Digital Revolution in the Audiovisual Market are needed. Some insight can be won by looking at digital natives and their use of media and maybe more important, their relationship with media.


“Digital Single Market” emerged as part of the EU Horizon 2020 initiative (2014) and actions within this project offer new challenges and opportunities for broadcasters and service providers. Keeping up with new demands and possibilities in the broadcasting sector, such as “re-distribution and spreading of content among peer-to-peer networks or through any form of social networking as part of a shared media experience” (Ibrus & Rohn, 2016), means that new regulations are needed.

The 2016-2017 agenda, in which innovations to the broadcasting sector are proposed (ICT-19-2017 & ICT-20-2017), deal with copyright issues and content sharing opportunities. Interestingly, the focus on the issue of intended as well as unintended online piracy can mostly be related to how millennials use digital media.

Will the digital single market be the long-awaited answer towards a united European audiovisual market?

Sharing is Caring – But Illegal?

In a society in which sharing via social media is not restricted to national borders, a sort of grey area exists.

According to Ibrus and Rohn (2016), “content sharing, even without the consent of intellectual property rights owners, is often viewed in popular discourse as being associated with freedom of speech and the free exchange of knowledge”. If content is easily distributed with only a few clicks and “young sharers of media content are often unaware of the illegality of their actions may be driven by reciprocity”, then regulations have not yet reached their potential.

What (especially younger) consumers, as well as content providers, are looking for are opportunities to offer cross-border solutions that preserve consumers freedom.

Removing Borders Online

The European Commission offered the proposal COM(2016) 289 final in 2016, in which the access to goods and services in the internal market should be expanded (Hilty and Moscon, 2017) are introduced. Here, it is not specifically targeted at geo-blocking, but is it implied as part of the the modernization of the EU copyright rules. This is one step along the way of creating regulations towards a unified broadcasting system. But does renewing copyright issues by loosening geo-blocking offer a border-less digital single market? Are old and seemingly out of touch structured regulations what we really need in the digital era?

Different habits and behaviors of millennial’s regarding the digital space suggest that an old-school approach will not necessarily change the way they use media. Their mentality suggests that in the digital world there are mostly no borders and if they encounter them, they simply find a way around them. Maybe a top down perspective will simply change the flow of an unstoppable river, as they will find other ways to access their preferred content.

Maybe a complete new concept of policy-making should be taken into consideration. Digital technologies and, maybe even more important, the mentality that is growing after them  have the potential to drastically change the way we do things.

For example, a great way to use this potential is by creating platforms where top-down topics related to policies will be implemented by bottom-up suggestions and discussions from citizens and viewers. This way producers and policy makers will have direct feedback and will be able to innovate in a more user-oriented perspective. Even more important this will lead to users feeling included and benefiting from either policies themselves or policy-making.


Maybe it is time for the established policy-making sector to try a bottom-up, more citizen-oriented approach made possible by technologies and, maybe even more important, by mentality. After failed attempts of the past, this might finally offer a digital single market regulation that will set the way to an audiovisual market innovation that caters to users as well as providers.

It is TIME to go DIGITAL, not only in technology but also in MENTALITY.



Ibrus, I., & Rohn, U. (2016). Sharing killed the AVMSD star: the impossibility of European audiovisual media regulation in the era of the sharing economy. Journal on Internet Regulation, 5(2). doi:10.14763/2016.2.419

Hilty, R. M., & Moscon, V. (2017). Modernisation of the EU Copyright Rules – Position Statement of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Report No. 17-12). Retrieved from DOI 10.17617/2.2470998

Pauwels, C.,& Loisen, J.,(2016). Leading by Example? European union Implementation of cultural Diversity in Internal and External Audiovisual Policies, Javnost-The Public, 23:2,153-169,DOI.10.1080/13183222.2016.1162980.

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