What is the Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive?

What is the Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive?

The Audio-Visual Media Service directive or AVMS. This is the license needed to broadcast, playout or stream content from one EU member to another (effectively the freedom of movement of broadcast services). The UK broadcasts more content than any other country in the EU playing out approx 1,200 channels for over 400 broadcasters (Germany is number two at around 200 channels).

The way it works is that a broadcaster first needs to be resident with a 'significant business presence' in that country and needs to have a recognised, suitable broadcast license in that country - for the UK that means having a license from OFCOM. (OFCOM standards are high compared to most and the standards this license demands are widely recognised as good across the EU.) Once you have a local license you can then apply to broadcast in other EU countries under the AVMS directive.

Importantly the AVMS is classed as a service (rather than 'goods') and, like many other services, is not addressed at all in the current withdrawal bill so unless something is specifically renegotiated it will not be legal to broadcast any of these channels in Europe from 1st April 2019.

From the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) document Broadcasting and video on demand if there’s no Brexit deal Before exit in March 2019, you would need to assess on a case-by-case basis whether your current licence would continue to be accepted in the EU countries where the service is made available, and seek independent local advice if necessary. It is your responsibility to take measures to ensure that you can obtain a valid licence or authorisation to ensure compliance if it is required.' Essentially right now you are free to broadcast to anyone in Europe, moving forward you may need to negotiate a deal with every country you'd like to broadcast to

The UK is a global hub for creative talent in broadcast with many international organisations headquartering their European operations in the UK creating thousands of jobs both directly and in supporting services. Any Brexit will cost jobs, revenue and influence in our sector.