Wednesday, May 22, 2013

European Commission has the Internet in its sight

If an astronaut can garner millions of hits on the web for singing a Bowie song, it seems only apposite that the great bureaucratic leviathan that is the European Commission (EC) should choose to rise from the depths this week to start examining the state of broadcasting in the union.

Broadcasting, in all media, is big business in Europe and broadcasting online is especially growing. Consumer spending on digital video (movies and TV series delivered over the Internet) reached €364.4m in 2011 in Europe within a market of physical and digital videos amounting €9.49bn.

When it comes to investment, of the €34.5bn 2009 programme spend by broadcasters in the EU, approximately €15.6bn was spent on acquiring rights – €5.8bn on sports rights and €9.8bn on film and TV acquisitions. Indeed, BT, in its recent football grab, paid £3bn for the three-season deal.

So why does my heart sink when it comes to an investigation into the future of broadcasting? The short answer is because whenever the EU interferes for the good of the citizens, it is always us, the citizens, who pay.