EU video guidelines

Streaming services.
Netflix and YouTube.

In October 2018, the Parliament of the European Union adopted the revision of a video directive. It is intended to react to changes in the market. Also, consumer rights are to be strengthened. This article explains what the revision changes.

For years, politicians – at both national and international level – found it difficult to adapt existing laws to the rapidly changing media landscape. The EU now wants to help with a revised video directive. The Video Directive, which has the unwieldy name “Directive 2010/13 EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services”, originally only applied to traditional television broadcasters. It will now also cover streaming services such as Netflix or YouTube.

Are you annoyed with advertising? This could change in the future – DeSight Studio explains and understandably what the new EU video directives are all about and what they can mean for the future.

What is the content of the video policy?
Probably the most crucial change is the redefinition of the scope of the Directive. Whereas previously, this was only accessible television content, Article 1(1)(a) now defines the “audiovisual media service,” which will be regulated later in the text. Here the term “media services on demand” is explicitly used and describes on-demand formats. Related contents of the Directive are the control of advertising shown on corresponding platforms, the protection of minors and the proportion of European productions.

What changes could be critical for online marketing?
The Directive can also potentially be of great importance for advertisers in online marketing. In some articles, it has a direct impact on the content of advertisements displayed on VoD services, limiting the proportion of advertising to no more than 20% of the total transmission time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. For a video platform, for example, this could mean that no more than two minutes of advertising could be shown in an eight-minute video.

Individual roles also apply to certain contents. These are children’s programs, documentaries, programs with politically informative content and those with religious content. The amended Directive will prohibit the placement of product placements in formats containing such content and will require broadcasts containing product placements to comply with additional requirements. Among other things, the following applies

• Their content and investment in the transmission schedule or catalog must not be influenced in such a way as to ‘impair the responsibility and editorial independence of the media service provider.’
• You must not directly encourage the purchase of goods or services.
• You must not overemphasize the product.
• Product placements must be marked accordingly.
• Member States may, however, derogate from the requirements in (d) of the Directive.

When does the amendment to the Directive apply?
For the Directive to enter into force, it must now be formally adopted by the EU Council. However, even then, there is no need for immediate change in Germany. As directives, the EU law must be converted into national law by the member states within 21 months of its entry into force.

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The Berufsverband der Rechtsjournalisten e.V. created this guest article and published by DeSight Studio GmbH. The BvDR registered association is the union of right journalists and attorneys from Germany, who publish legal contributions to most diverse topics on the portals,,, and