Feeds

Europe takes aim at BBC licence fee

Calls for 'less and better targeted aid'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The European Commission has opened a period of consultation on its proposals to change the rules governing state aid handed to broadcasters.

Public broadcasters across Europe - including the beeb - get €22bn in government funding - in third place behind agriculture and transport.

The EC is keen to tweak the rules to allow national broadcasters to better cope with new media, to define their public service remit and improve national supervision of their activities. But opponents of the proposals say they would hamstring public service broadcasters exploiting new media technologies.

Neelie Kroes, Competition Commissioner, said she wanted "the broadcasting sector to meet the challenges of the new media environment, allowing a high quality and modern public service, while at the same time maintaining a fair level playing field between the different actors".

Individual states have "wide discretion" to define what exactly is public service broadcasting while still maintaining fair competition.

Draft proposals would also allow broadcasters to build up larger cash reserves so they can deal with fast changes in costs.

The European Broadcasting Union, made up of national broadcasters, is opposed to the draft proposals.

Jean Reveillon, director general of the EBU, said: "If this extremely detailed version of the Broadcasting Communication were adopted, it could seriously reduce the scope for Member States to grant public service broadcasters a significant role in the information society."

The EBU is concerned that forcing broadcasters to prove a "Public Value Test" for new services would hamper their ability to compete.

The EU strategy was unveiled as BBC plans for more local, online, video news services got a kicking from regional newspaper executives in Parliament. Carolyn McCall, boss of Guardian Media Group, and Sly Bailey, boss of Trinity Mirror, told the Commons Select Committee for culture, media and sport, they were concerned that BBC expansion plans would bite into income for local and regional titles.

The Commission is conducting a separate investigation into government money given to Channel4.

Anyone with a comment to make has until 15 January to get their letters in. Press release, and links to whole document, here. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.