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New Brussels plan for recovery of media sector

07 December 2020, 21:28 CET
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New Brussels plan for recovery of media sector

Film - Image © Sergio J Lievano - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission unveiled Thursday an action plan for recovery of the media/audiovisual sector, hit badly by the coronavirus crisis, and seen as essential for democracy, diversity and digital autonomy.

An already weak sector has been hit by falling advertising revenues, the collapse of cinemas (with losses estimated at EUR 100,000 per screen per month during lockdown), and production on 'standby'.

"We are committed to help the media sector weather the current storm and challenges brought by the crisis, and to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital transformation in both the short-term and long-term," said EC vice-president Margrethe Vestager.

The action plan focuses on three areas of activity and 10 concrete actions, to help the media sector recover from the crisis by facilitating and broadening access to finance, transform by stimulating investments to embrace the twin digital and green transitions while ensuring the sector's future resilience and empower European citizens and companies.

Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, each National Recovery and Resilience Plan will earmark a minimum level of 20% of expenditure for digital. Measures to boost the production and distribution of digital content, such as digital media, will count towards this target. In addition, the Action Plan aims to:

  • 1) Facilitate access to EU support via a dedicated tool for media companies to find all relevant EU funding opportunities for them. This will offer guidance on how to apply for relevant EU support, in the context of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, but also through national recovery and resilience plans;
  • 2) Boost investment in the audiovisual industry via a new initiative MEDIA INVEST whose target is to leverage investments of €400 million over a 7-year period;
  • 3) Launch a "NEWS" initiative to bundle actions and support for the news media sector. The initiative includes a pilot NEWS invest project with foundations and other private partners, access to loans to be backed by the InvestEU guarantee, grants, and a European News Media Forum with the sector. Particular attention will be paid to local media.

The Action Plan also seeks to support the green and digital transformation of the sector:

  • 4) Encourage European media data spaces for data sharing and innovation;
  • 5) Foster a European Virtual and Augmented Reality industrial coalition to help EU media benefit from these immersive technologies and Launch a VR Media Lab on projects for new ways of storytelling and interacting;
  • 6) Facilitate discussions and actions for the industry to become climate neutral by 2050.

Finally, citizens and companies are at the centre of the efforts outlined in the Action Plan to enable and empower Europeans. Actions include:

  • 7) Launch a dialogue with the AV industry to improve access to and availability of audiovisual content across the EU, to help the industry scale up and reach new audiences and consumers to enjoy a wide diversity of content;
  • 8) Foster European media talents including by promoting diversity before and behind the camera, and by scouting and supporting media startups;
  • 9) Empower citizens including by strengthening media literacy and supporting the creation of independent alternative news aggregation;
  • 10) Strengthen cooperation among regulators within the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) to ensure the proper functioning of the EU media market.

This Media and Audiovisual Action Plan goes hand in hand with the European Democracy Action Plan, which aims at strengthening media freedom and pluralism across Europe, with a focus on the protection of journalists. This Action plan is also fully aligned with the Commission's upcoming proposals on the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, which will aim at modernising the legal framework applicable to digital services in the EU.

Action Plan on "Europe's Media in the Digital Decade"

Creative Europe website

European Democracy Action Plan press release

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