EU's barmy television directive

An MEP is sitting in Brussels, and thinks to his or herself, "What can I do about product placement in television programmes?" The answer he or she comes up with is to flash a warning across the screen every 20 minutes whenever product placement is used. A few months later, this idea is being voted on in the European parliament. Only Conservative MEP Syed Kamall worked out that warning signs and alarm bells would probably draw more not less attention to the product.

'Television without frontiers' is the EU blueprint for television in the 21st century. We're all familiar with fishing quotas emanating from Brussels, but now the EU is interfering in TV too.

New plans would limit the amount of non-EU television we consume. They would also restrict ad breaks to programmes at least thirty minutes in length - without considering how this would affect shorter online transmissions - and control internet television to the extent that some media companies are threatening to re-locate outside the EU and beam back to Britain.

It's a set of proposals based very much on a continental model of timetabled television consumption. But TV doesn't work like that anymore. Contemporary viewing culture is fluid, disloyal and consumed across multiple-platforms. The EU needs to beware that it's not drafting analogue legislation for a digital age.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 11:16 am,


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