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Media Freedom and Pluralism

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Beata Klimkiewicz

Section 2: Content and service-related regulation

Chapter 6. Struggling with Diversity

Objectives, Outcomes, and Future of the European Quota Policy in the Context of the Television Scene in the Czech Republic

Václav Štetka

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1The legislative framework for regulation of the European audiovisual sector has recently witnessed a major innovation, represented by the “modernizing” of the almost eighteen-year-old Television without Frontiers directive (89/552/EEC), last amended twelve years ago (97/36/EC). In light of the rapid technological development in the field of audiovisual production and distribution, which has reduced television to just one of many media providing audiovisual content, the European Commission decided on a considerably larger revision than in 1997. The scope of the change is evident in the replacement of the very name of this legislative instrument, which was adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union on December 11, 2007, under the title “audiovisual Media services directive” (European Parliament and the Council, 2007).

2However, when discussing the new framework for European audiovisual policy, the substantial transformation not just of media technologies, but of the European Union itself, needs to be taken into ac-count. In the past several years, the EU has undoubtedly experienced the biggest structural, political, and cultural challenges since its establishment by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. These challenges are brought about not only by the unprecedented scope of enlargement, which more than doubled the number of Member states (compared with the starting point in 1992) and brought into a common legislative and economic space countries with vast historical, cultural, and economic differences. Another, parallel source of these challenges is the continuing processes of political integration. aimed at strengthening the institutional structure of the EU and shifting the decision processes away from the nation-states towards European institutions, integration is seen by many as a road to the establishment of the European “super-state.” nevertheless, the failure of the attempt to introduce the project of the European Constitution in 2005 has fueled doubts about the existence of a European demos as a subject of the Constitution, as well as the criticism of the so-called democratic deficit allegedly suffered by the EU (and the integration project in general) (see Bowman, 2006). It seems that now, perhaps more than at any other time in the history of European integration, Europe needs to discuss which ideas and principles the future of the integration process should be built upon, and how to achieve a higher level of popular support for the integration project—that is, if the process of creating “an ever closer union” (as is stated in the Treaty of Rome) will continue. such questions are especially relevant for audiovisual media, whose potential for spreading of a European consciousness, construction of a European identity, and building of a European communication space has recently become the subject of extensive theoretical as well as empirical research (Bruter, 2003; Kevin, 2003; Jochen and de Vreese, 2004; schlesinger and Fossum, 2005). apart from exploring the role of media in processes of European integration, focusing mostly on the structures of pan-European media industry (see Chalaby, 2002) or on the media coverage of pan-European topics (Trenz, 2004; Downey and Koenig, 2006; Machill, Beiler, and Fischer, 2006), attention has also been aimed at the analysis of European media policy, attempting to stimulate the role of media as agents of integration by various regulatory measures, as well as by several grant programs (levy, 2001; Wheeler, 2004; Nenova, 2007).

  • 1 The text is a revised, updated, and extended version of the paper “Promoting diversity, or Protecti (...)

3This chapter1follows the research framework sketched above, as it aims to examine cultural objectives of European audiovisual policy, represented mainly by the Television without Frontiers directive (hereafter “TWF directive”) and its recent successor, the audiovisual Media services directive. In the first part, I briefly review cultural goals and conceptualizations of European culture and identity in the historical evolution of European broadcasting legislation. After that, i focus on critical review of the existing results of the program quota policy (contained in articles 4 and 5 of the TWF directive) across Europe. The second part of the text is devoted to the empirical case study of the implementation of this policy into Czech media legislation, combined with a look at the programming strategies of Czech TV stations as well as into Czech TV audience behavior. Both point to a considerable failure of the quota policy in one of its manifest goals—support of cultural diversity. In the final part, I examine cultural objectives contained in the new audiovisual Media services directive and discuss to what extent they differ from the directive’s legislative predecessor.

6.1. Culture and identity in the European audiovisual policy

  • 2 In the Maastricht Treaty, the audiovisual sector is specifically referred to in the second paragrap (...)
  • 3 In its well-known statement, the resolution noted that for a European identity to emerge, the flow (...)

4as Mira Nenova (2007, p. 4) observes, even though broadcasting “was not one of the original regulatory domains of the EC” and was not explicitly referred to in the 1957 Treaty of Rome but only first in the Maastricht Treaty,2it does not mean that the EC was not paying attention to this field prior to 1992. However, it was not the European Commission but the European Parliament that first took an initiative within the European Community, when, in 1982, it passed its first resolution devoted to television, the resolution on radio and Television Broadcasting in the European Community (based on the Hahn report; see Collins, 2002). Apart from general warnings against the deregulation of broadcasting and against the commercialization of information, this resolution specifically mentioned the need to focus on European culture and consciousness and pointed to information media as a means for constructing European identity, regarding information as one of the decisive factors in processes of European integration.3

5The European Commission first addressed the issue of broadcasting in 1984 with the Green Paper on the establishment of a Common Market in Broadcasting, especially by satellite and Cable. This paper, according to Nenova (2007, p. 5), marked the actual beginning of the Community’s audiovisual media policy and can be regarded as a direct predecessor to the TWF directive. The document called for creating a common European audiovisual space, which was explained by the need to contribute, by means of shared television programs, to closer relations between the European nations and the building of the European identity. Television was conceived as an instrument for creation and cultivation of the awareness about the richness and diversity of the European cultural heritage, and for promoting recognition of a “common fate.” Creating a strong European audiovisual industry, apparently the main objective of the planned policy, was supposed to help Europeans to “protect their cultural identity” and nourish “the hope for economic development in light of American and Japanese expansion” (Schlesinger, 1991, p. 140).

6The Rhodes meeting of the European Council in 1988, which asked to “strengthen effort” and “speed up work” on the TWF directive, also expressed its conviction that the European audiovisual policy initiatives, leading to the “emergence of a truly European audiovisual market,” “will contribute to a substantial strengthening of a European cultural identity” (European union, 1988).

7However, of all these cultural objectives, explicitly mentioning the building of European identity and promoting European cultural heritage, few were actually included in the recitals of the Television without Frontiers directive (adopted in 1989, went into effect in 1991), the “prime EC regulatory tool for audiovisual media” (Nenova, 2007, p. 5). Even though the directive, in its first recital, repeated the goal of “establishing an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe,” contained already in the Treaty of Rome, from the directive’s content it is clear that it did not understand this goal primarily in cultural terms. The commentators agree that the cultural objectives are “a lesser element of The directive,” and the economic and industrial rationales, above all “removing obstacles to freedom of movement for services” and “ensuring that competition in the common market is not distorted,” constitute its core elements (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 76). Policy measures regarding cultural goals are largely implicit, and European identity or consciousness is not mentioned at all. in fact, the only place in the directive referring specifically to cultural objectives is in recital 13 of the TWF directive, which assures that the provisions of the TWF directive do not affect “the independence of cultural developments in the Member states and the preservation of cultural diversity in the Community” (European Council, 1989). It re-mains unspecified what kind of cultural policy is reflected in the directive’s well-known and much-debated articles 4 and 5. These articles are generally regarded as its main cultural provisions, requesting that broadcasters reserve “for European works […] a majority proportion of their transmission time,” and “at least 10% of their transmission time […] for European works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters” (European Council, 1989).

8It is often pointed out that the conceptual ambivalences within the TWF directive, which is seen as a predominantly liberalizing instrument (Wheeler, 2004) but which nevertheless contains restrictive measures such as the above-mentioned content quotas, are to a great extent products of competition between what Richard Collins (2002) calls “rival policy paradigms” of the European Community’s broadcasting and audiovisual policy. This policy is divided not just between the European Commission and the Parliament, but within the various directorates of the European Commission itself, and is usually described as a struggle between liberals/deregulators, whose objectives are mainly economic (creating a single European audiovisual market), and “dirigistes/interventionists,” who are trying to promote cultural objectives in the EU media legislation (Collins, 2002, p. 14). Therefore, many products of the legislative process are results of some sort of compromise (whose particular form depends, of course, on actual distribution of powers). One example is precisely the formulation of articles 4 and 5, containing in both cases the (in) famous escape clause “where practicable,” which enables the broadcasters to comfortably slip away from the quota requirements if they can reasonably justify that they are unable to fulfill them.

  • 4 According to Gerard Delanty and Chris Rumford, the concept of unity in diversity is “currently the (...)

9Nevertheless, even within the “dirigistes/interventionists” camp, the notion of what the aims of the cultural policy should be and how they should be achieved has apparently changed over time. as David levy observes, the “early emphasis on the role of audio-visual policy in creating a European identity did not last long,” moving in the 1980s away from attempts to create, by broadcasting regulation, a single European identity, and shifting more towards preservation of existing cultural diversity, which was understood largely in terms of variety of national cultures (levy, 2001, p. 42). According to Collins (2002), the European policymakers have gradually replaced the aim of creating a (more or less unified) European culture with the concern about the role of the media in preserving Europe’s existing cultural diversity. The “spirit” of the Hahn report (and, to some extent, of the 1984 Green Paper), largely faded away at the end of 1989, and “the arguments which dirigistes deployed in favor of regulation and intervention came to emphasize European cultural diversity rather than the European union and cultural unity” (Collins, 2002, p. 16). As Monica Sassatelli (2002, p. 438) argues, this shifting of emphasis from “unity” to “diversity” characterizes not just the development in the field of audiovisual policy, but recent EU policy in general.4This can hardly be demonstrated better than by the fact that the EU has adopted the slogan Unity in Diversity as its official motto, which, as Sassatelli assumes, enables the EU “to avoid filling in the idea of the European cultural corpus with specific elements” (Sassatelli, 2002, p. 438).

6.2. “Daytime is American, primetime is domestic”—and what about European?

  • 5 At a Member state level, the average transmission time varied between 52.8 percent (Ireland) and 86 (...)
  • 6 The Member states’ average compliance rates for all channels covered ranged from 50 percent (Belgiu (...)

10In the seventh Communication on the application of articles 4 and 5 of the TWF directive (European Commission, 2006d), which analyzes and evaluates data provided by the particular national regulatory bodies for the years 2003–2004, the Commission expressed general satisfaction with the state of the European audiovisual industry (measured by the growth of channels), as well as with national applications of the provisions concerning quota on European and independent works. according to the Commission, these have been “comfortably met over the current reference period (2003–2004), as in previous reporting periods, both at the European level and at the level of Member states, including the ten Member states which joined the eu in 2004” (European Commission, 2006d, p. 9). This kind of evaluation is based on several figures. Concerning the European works, the number representing the EU-average transmission time reserved for European works by all covered channels in all Member states reached 63.3 percent in 2004, which was a slight decrease from the previous year (65.2 percent). Still, according to the Commission, this figure provides a “generally sound application of article 4.”5The average compliance rate for all channels in all Member states reached 72.8 percent in 2004, representing a 4.6 percent increase from 2003.6This implies that three out of four European channels falling within TWF jurisdiction have surpassed the required 50 percent threshold. Regarding the European works by independent producers, the EU-average proportion reserved for these kinds of programs by all covered channels in all Member states was 31.5 percent in 2004, which is well above the 10 percent threshold; the EU-average compliance rate for channels in all Member states increased from 78.4 percent in 2003 to 81.9 percent in 2004.

  • 7 Scheduling of European works has stabilized in the EU at a level well above 60 percent of total qua (...)
  • 8 The new Member states had a combined average transmission of 61.8 percent of European works in the (...)

11So despite the fact that in 2004, every fourth TV channel in the EU did not actually reach the 50 percent minimum share of European works, the Commission’s evaluation is optimistic overall, pointing to the satisfactory “mid-term trend” concerning the proportion of European works,7especially since the numbers proved that the new Member states achieved, in terms of scheduling European works, comparable results to those reached by the eu-15 countries.8

12However, in order to fully evaluate the effect of articles 4 and 5 of the TWF directive, such a narrow mathematical perspective (based on an arithmetic mean) is not sufficient. While confirming the positive trends concerning the share of European and independent works across the EU, an independent impact study assessing the results of the TWF directive (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005) pointed to several major problems in the current application and evaluation of the directive. The first one, actually noted by the Commission itself, concerns rather weak results in enforcing the directive’s provisions by the national regulatory bodies. In the background document to the same Communication (European Commission, 2006e), the Commission mentions that regulatory bodies of Member states take no measures in cases where their channels fail to achieve the quota limits:

13“Various types of measures were reported by Member states: ongoing dialogue, subjecting the channels concerned to surveillance, formal notices and other sanctions against broadcasters, which may result in fines or—ultimately—in the withdrawal of the license. However, there were very few cases where these measures were actually taken” (European Commission, 2006e, p. 20).

14As the independent impact study found out from a survey of producers and broadcasters across the EU, a majority of them do not believe that articles 4 and 5 are strictly monitored or that sanctions will be applied against those who fail to meet the quota requirements. According to this study, 59 percent of broadcasters and 79 percent of producers believe that sanctions are never applied. on the contrary, “only 26 percent of broadcasters and 10 percent of producers said they believed that the sanctions were an effective means of securing adherence by broadcasters to the requirements of articles 4 and 5” (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 169). Of course, these findings create space for doubts about the effectiveness of these policy provisions and about their real impact on the decisions of broadcasters in regards to their TV’s programming schedules.

  • 9 The European audiovisual observatory noted that “in the five largest countries, European drama (non (...)

15The second serious shortcoming in the allegedly cultural provisions of the TWF directive concerns the fact that the directive, in its definition of “European works,” does not distinguish between domestic and non-domestic European programs. This enables the broadcasters to comply with article 4 without devoting even a minute to programs from another European country. This theoretical example is actually not too far from the actual state of affairs across the European television market. as the independent impact study shows, while the average share of qualifying transmission time devoted to non-domestic European works increased from 10.9 percent in 1993 to 13.9 percent in 1999, it has subsequently fallen to 12.3 percent in 2002 (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 183). These numbers obviously lower prospects for nurturing a European cultural identity through the mutual exchange of television programs between EU countries. And these numbers confirm that despite the TWF directive’s lifting of technical and legislative barriers to transborder television, the cultural and linguistic barriers dividing Europe still remain very powerful factors in determining audiences’ viewing habits. The recent report by the European audiovisual observatory (EAO) further underlines this trend, when demonstrating “a considerable fall in co-production” among European countries within the last several years, resulting in the fact that “beginning in 2000, the international component in national European fiction has decreased and has become more domestic and local than ever,” which is “somewhat paradoxical given an era of globalization and inter-culturality” (EAO, 2005, p. 65).9

  • 10 These markets correspond with the five largest economies of the EU—the United Kingdom, Germany, Fra (...)
  • 11 As the European audiovisual observatory noted, “while these [co-productions] sometimes involve the (...)

16It is even more noteworthy—from a cultural as well as purely economic perspective—that the only programs that have consistently been able to cross all the European borders are fiction programs and feature films from the United States. This is certainly not a new phenomenon; it has been documented throughout the 1980s and 1990s (Silj, 1989; De Bens and De Smaele, 2001; Tunstall and Machin, 1999). It was precisely this growing inability of European fiction producers to compete with American films and soap operas that provided one of the key arguments for placing article 4 in the TWF directive eighteen years ago. The United States continues to occupy a dominant position in imports of television fiction and feature films across Europe (EAO, 2005, p. 65), and the deficit in import and export of audiovisual products between the EU and the United States has further increased (in 2002 it equaled €1.75 billion—David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 10). This situation represents a third major problem that has to be considered when assessing the cultural impact of the TWF directive. even though the share of U.S. fiction programs has recently declined, falling from 71.8 percent of total imports in 1998 to 62.3 percent in 2004 in the five key media markets in Europe (EAO, 2005, p. 94),10it has been offset by an increase in U.S. participation in international co-productions, rising from 3.1 percent of the total in 1998 to 13.4 percent in 2004 (EAO, 2005, p. 94).11Between 1996 and 2002, the amount of U.S. content on European TV screens increased twice as fast as European fiction, totaling 28,869 hours compared to 14,670 hours broadcast (Chalaby, 2006, pp. 40–41).

  • 12 This assessment is made also on the basis of the fall in new programs offered during the course of (...)

17At the dawn of the new regulatory regime for audiovisual media, the key pattern in television fiction in Europe is characterized as “daytime is American—primetime is domestic” (EAO, 2005, p. 66). Programming from other European countries is usually only a third choice (Collins, 2002, p. 32), and, as has been demonstrated above, even that occurs only relatively rarely. And although the share of European fiction has in fact been steadily increasing, it is downgraded by the parallel reduction of titles, constituting a trend that the European audiovisual observatory calls “more of the same” (EAO, 2005, p.65).12

18Given the above results of the cultural objectives of the TWF directive (whether implicit or explicit), it is easy to understand why most of the academic commentators criticized it. For Mira Burri Nenova, the directive “has done little for the achievement of cultural goals” and was instead a “victory for commercial forces and those who favored anti-protectionist policies” (Nenova, 2007, p. 9). For Jean Chalaby, policy initiatives like the TWF directive “have failed to stem the flow of us material, and in a few cases have proven counter-effective.” instead of helping to develop a European film and television production industry, the TWF directive “provided Hollywood with a larger market and a host of new clients desperate to fill hours with cheap television material” (Chalaby, 2006, p. 48). Richard Collins observes the failure of both the economic and cultural objectives, saying that “the single market in broadcasting has neither improved the competitive position of European audiovisual producers by giving them a domestic market comparable to that of the united states, nor bound European television viewers into a common culture and thus promoted European union” (Collins, 2002, p. 19).

6.3. Implementing the TWF directive into the Czech broadcasting legislation

  • 13 According to the report by David Graham and assoc. ltd. (2005, pp. 95–96), six of the “old” EU Memb (...)
  • 14 The EU 15 countries differ in whether they have incorporated the “where practicable” clause into th (...)
  • 15 This definition is contained in most of the EU 15 countries, except for France, Germany, Italy, and (...)
  • 16 In Greece, for example, 25 percent of the TQT should be reserved for works produced in Greek; in th (...)
  • 17 In France, the law obliges terrestrial free-to-air channels to invest a minimum of 3.2 percent of n (...)

19In the Czech republic, the European Community’s audiovisual acquis communautaire represented by the TWF directive was put into the national legislation by the 2001 radio and Television Broadcasting act (hereafter, RTB act). It was adopted three years before the country’s entry into the EU, which gave the stations a relatively long time to adapt themselves to the quota requirements. Concerning articles 4 and 5, demanding the promotion of European and “independent” works, the Czech Republic, unlike some other European states,13decided on a quite literary transcription of the directive’s text, not choosing the option of increasing the quotas, which the directive explicitly permits. The act requires broadcasting for “more than a half” of the total qualifying time (TQT) for every single channel, retaining the exemption clause “where practicable.”14Concerning European works by independent producers, the RTB act copies the original TWF directive when obliging the broadcasters either to fulfill the minimum 10 percent of the TQT or to spend at least 10 percent of their program budget on programs from independent producers. The definition of total qualifying time is also transcribed directly, excluding news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services, and teleshopping.15The only provision that sets additional quotas concerns the amount of “new programs” (programs not older than five years). This amount the TWF directive leaves unspecified, using the phrase “an adequate proportion,” but the Czech RTB act specifies it as 10 percent of the qualifying transmission time of works from independent producers or, alternatively, as 10 percent of the broadcaster’s program budget for works defined this way. Unlike most of the EU 15 countries, which require the broadcasters to broadcast for a certain amount of time in the national language or in the language of ethnic minorities, the Czech republic has neither a specific language nor other “cultural” requirements in its RTB act.16The only paragraph where the act mentions the subject of culture is §17, which lists certain facts significant for the decision of granting the license, among them a “contribution of the applier to securing development of the culture of national, ethnic or other minorities in the Czech republic,” but does not set any criteria for the broadcaster to fulfill this obligation. The act does also not require the broadcasters to contribute financially to domestic TV or film production, as is the case in France, Austria, or Finland.17An attempt to adopt such an act was recently passed through Parliament but eventually vetoed by President Václav Klaus.

  • 18 The remaining two quadrants in the model (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 98) are occupied b (...)

20In sum, the implementation of articles 4 and 5 of the TWF directive in the Czech legislation could be characterized by a rather liberal approach, keeping the flexibility of the original wording of the directive while not putting any additional requirements on the broadcasters concerning promotion of European or independent works. in light of the analytical model developed by the authors of the independent “study of Measures Concerning the Promotion of distribution and Production of TV Programmes” (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005), this would probably put the Czech republic in the company of Austria, Denmark, Germany, or Ireland, whose implementation mode combines flexible application of the directive with low additional requirements on broadcasters. By contrast, another group of countries (Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom) opted for a prescriptive directive’s application and place additional content requirements on their respective broadcasters.18

6.4. Program quotas and the Czech television market

  • 19 These channels are TV nova (established in 1994 as the first national commercial TV station in the (...)

21Since 2001, the year of the adoption of the current radio and Television Broadcasting act, the Czech Council for radio and Television Broadcasting (the national regulation authority, hereafter CRTB) has been monitoring the implementation of articles 4 and 5 (which are inscribed into paragraphs 42, 43, and 44 of the RTB act) and publishing the results of the monitoring procedure in its annual reports. The data from five consecutive years show that all of the four main national terrestrial channels falling within the jurisdiction of these articles (from which the local stations as well as stations broadcasting predominantly in foreign languages are exempt)19have thus far always fulfilled the requirement of devoting more than half of the qualifying time for European works. This task has apparently been much easier for the public service broadcaster Česká Televize with its channels ČT1 and ČT2, surpassing the 50 percent threshold comfortably (86 percent in the case of ČT1 and 89 percent in the case of ČT2 in 2006). Its commercial competitors showed more difficulties in the beginning (TV nova, the Czech market leader, managed to get just above the required minimum in 2003), but in the last couple of years they also have not had substantial problems in meeting the quota.

  • 20 The reasons given for the non-compliance included “difficulty in finding European programmes” or in (...)
  • 21 According to interviews among national regulators (performed by David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, (...)
  • 22 See http://www.rrtv.cz/cz/dynamic/memo.aspx, retrieved October 12, 2007.

22Regarding independent programming, with only one exception, the main Czech national terrestrial stations have also been able to keep meeting the required 10 percent quota. However, this time, it has been the public service channels struggling on several occasions to get over the threshold, while the commercial stations TV nova and TV Prima managed to fill almost a third of their qualifying broadcasting time with programs from independent producers. In 2004 the works by independent producers accounted for only 8.5 percent of the total qualifying time on the public service channel ČT1, which, in the report to the European Commission, was explained by the broadcaster’s mistake in defining an independent producer (European Commission, 2006d). Nevertheless, this picture of unproblematic compliance gets more complicated when adding the cable and satellite channels which, according to both the TWF directive as well as the Czech RTB act, are also subject to the program quota requirements. In its 2004 report to the Commission, the CRTB provided information on the programming of twelve channels for the period between May 1, 2004 (the date of the Czech Republic’s EU accession) and December 31, 2004, of which five channels did not meet the required quota for European works. The inclusion of these pay TV channels, all of which belong to the HBO Company, in the overall results for the country resulted in an average of 49.1 percent of broadcasting time devoted to European works in the Czech Republic in 2004. This meant that, in the words of the Commission, “the Czech republic is the only Member state whose channels, counted together, did not average over 50%” that year (European Commission, 2006e, p. 24). despite the CRTB’s proclaimed determination “to enter into dialogue with the broadcasters in order to improve the situation” (European Commission 2006e, p. 56), the data from the 2006 annual report show that the respective pay TV channels (most notably HBO, HBO 2, and Cinemax) are still far from reaching both the 50 percent quota on European programming as well as the 10 percent quota on independent programs. Whereas in 2005, these broadcasters offered an explanation for why they could not reach the quota,20the following year no reasons were even provided, although the share of neither European nor independent programming had increased substantially. This case only deepens doubts about the determination of the broadcasting authorities to truly enforce the compliance to the program quotas—which is apparently a common problem across most of the European countries.21The issue of quota compliance has, after all, never been discussed at the CRTB’s official meetings so far (at least not according to the publicly accessible records from these meetings).22

Figure 6.1. Share of European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

Figure 6.1. Share of European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

23Source: Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting: annual reports 2002–2006 (http://www.rrtv.cz/​cz/​static/​zpravy/​index.htm; retrieved 6.04. 2007).

Figure 6.2. Share of programming from independent producers on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

Figure 6.2. Share of programming from independent producers on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

24Source: Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting: annual reports 2002–2006 (http://www.rrtv.cz/​cz/​static/​zpravy/​index.htm; retrieved 6.04. 2007).

6.5. Czech audience’s tastes: in favor of domestic programming

25looking at the numbers representing the share of European programs on the main national channels, it is tempting to agree with the Czech broadcasting council’s positive evaluation of the performance of these channels in terms of fulfilling the requirements set by the TWF directive (see Czech Council for Television and radio Broadcasting, 2007). However, a closer examination of the data from 2006, when broadcasters were first asked by the Council to provide information about the separate shares of Czech and other European programs, reveals that the majority of programs subsumed under the category “European” are of domestic origin. This is much more prominent in the case of the public service channels ČT1 and ČT2, where the share of non-domestic European works reached only 8.4 percent (13.2 percent respectively) in 2006, while more than three-quarters of their total qualifying time was filled with national programming.

  • 23 This information is based on the author’s own secondary analysis of four full-month samples of prog (...)

26As can be seen, the commercial television channels displayed more balanced proportions between Czech and other European works than the public service ones, most prominently in case of TV nova. However, this station also broadcast the most co-produced programs, the majority of which actually involved non-European (predominantly U.S.) partners. This should also be taken into account when evaluating the chart presented above.23

Figure 6.3. Proportion of domestic and non-domestic European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

Figure 6.3. Proportion of domestic and non-domestic European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)

27Source: Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting: annual reports 2002–2006 (http://www.rrtv.cz/​cz/​static/​zpravy/​index.htm; retrieved 6.04. 2006).

28The uneven position of domestic and non-domestic European programs can be further demonstrated in the way they are scheduled and in the figures which represent audience ratings. The secondary analysis of the peoplemeter data confirms the above-discussed dominance of domestic over international programming in terms of audience response to it, as well as dominance of American over nondomestic European programming. On the three main national terrestrial channels in the Czech Republic, domestic programs “rule” the prime-time program schedules (8–11 p.m.) and usually attract the largest share of the audience. As can be seen from the following chart, non-domestic programs are hardly ever among the most watched ones, and it is the U.S. programs that are usually the audience’s “second choice.”

  • 24 The only non-domestic European program in the Top 100 on TV Prima was the blockbuster movie Troy (a (...)

29The differences between the most successful domestic, European, and U.S. programs, both in terms of their amount and their audience ratings, are obvious. On the public service channel ČT1, only four U.S. American programs appear among the first 100, measured by the program’s audience ratings (the movie Ice Age being the most popular, with 13.7 percent), but none of a non-domestic European origin. The results from the commercial TV channel Prima are almost similar, with Desperate Housewives reaching the Top 20 as the only non-domestic program.24There were four European programs among the first 100 on the TV channel nova (the most successful of which was the German crime series Cobra 11), but thirteen American ones, mostly series that were popular worldwide, such as Lost, Las Vegas, and CSI: Miami.

Table6.1. Proportion of domestic and international production among the top 100 prime-time programs broadcast in prime time on the main Czech national TV stations (sample: 03,06,09,12/2006)

Table6.1. Proportion of domestic and international production among the top 100 prime-time programs broadcast in prime time on the main Czech national TV stations (sample: 03,06,09,12/2006)

30Source: ATO – Mediaresearch, s.r.o. (http://www.ato.cz; retrieved 6.04.2007). Notes: The chart includes only programs falling within the definition according to the TWF Directive (fiction, films and talk shows)

31In light of these figures (also complemented by the next chart), there can be no doubt that the above-mentioned cross-European pattern characterized by the words “prime time is domestic” (EAO, 2005, p. 66) describes the situation in the Czech republic’s television landscape as well. notwithstanding the EU’s efforts to stimulate the growth of the pan-European broadcasting market and to promote the exchange of audiovisual programs, the Czech television landscape is dominated by a combination of national and U.S. production, and the Czech audience remains “locked” in nationally oriented viewing habits (especially during prime time), having neither the opportunity nor an apparent interest to watch programs from the fellow EU states. The presumption that the implementation of EU media legislation will “broaden the spectrum of geographic origin of broadcasted programs,” as the text of the official government’s cultural policy proclamation hoped for (Ministry of Culture, 2001), simply was not confirmed.

6.6. Prime-time fiction on Czech screens: Whither diversity?

32Judging by the objectives inscribed in the text of the TWF directive, which conflate “European” with “national,” this situation does not seem to pose a problem in itself. However, following the logic of the “unity in diversity” argument, the question is how the Czech domestic TV programs contribute to the preservation of European cultural diversity, or, in other words, what kind of nation-specific cultural representations and values are currently present on Czech television screens. This, of course, is a complicated question, calling perhaps for a different, much more subtle type of analysis. nevertheless, a brief look at the most popular TV fiction programs in 2006 casts some doubts about the Czech television programs being an important addition to the European cultural heritage, however it is defined.

33Apart from the two feature films (both of them fairy tales broadcast during Christmas), the most popular Czech prime time programs are domestic soap operas and reality shows, which corresponds to the current Europe-wide trend (see EAO, 2005).25in this context, one can speak of (structural or formal) homogenization rather than hetero-genization or cultural pluralization, especially since most of the reality TV shows broadcast on Czech screens are in fact global—not just European—formats that bring the same type of entertainment (although always “localized”) to audiences of millions around the world (see Moran and Keane, 2003) and can be regarded as one of the most visible examples of cultural globalization.26And even though the domestic soap operas probably exploit national narratives and other national symbolic material more intensely than the reality shows, and could be generally regarded more “genuine” products of the nation’s own television industries, their cultural value can be questioned just as much as in the case of reality shows.

34However, it is precisely the issue of “quality” of the program content which is virtually absent in the European media policy discourse.

Table6. 2. Prime-time fiction programs which achieved highest audience ratings on three main Czech national TVs (sample 03, 06, 09, 12/2006; highest episode’s ratings)

Table6. 2. Prime-time fiction programs which achieved highest audience ratings on three main Czech national TVs (sample 03, 06, 09, 12/2006; highest episode’s ratings)

35Source: ATO – Mediaresearch, s.r.o. (http://www.ato.cz; retrieved 6.04.2007) Notes: Titles in italic stand for original format titles.

  • 27 According to Schlesinger, “it is simply assumed that consuming the audiovisual (cultural) products— (...)

36As Phillip Schlesinger points out, this discourse treats culture in a very general way, not distinguishing among “high,” “low,” or “popular” culture. The analytical distinction between “culture as a way of life” (broadly shared values, practices, and beliefs of a social group) and the (narrower) understanding of culture as “production of artifacts that may become commodities traded in a marketplace” (Schlesinger, 1997, pp. 371–372) gets conflated in the rhetoric of EU policy makers. This means that the popular television products are automatically ascribed an invaluable role in both representing and reproducing specificities of the “way of life” of a given national community, and are therefore worth protecting on a European level.27There is not enough space in this paper to examine all the shortcomings contained in such an argument; however, the very idea that—for example—a dozen national versions of Big Brother or Survivor reality shows will somehow reflect/promote the diversity of European cultures, demonstrate sufficiently the myopia of the program quota policy in regards to the issues of content, as well as the dubious results of a policy combining purely economic rationales with the rhetoric of cultural defense.

6.7. The audiovisual Media services directive and the issue of cultural diversity

37As has already been mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, the Television without Frontiers directive was replaced at the end of 2007 by a new audiovisual Media services directive (hereafter AVMS directive; see European Parliament and the Council, 2007).28according to the European Commission, the main reason for introducing the new directive is to update the legislation regulating the audiovisual field in response to the rapid technological development this field has witnessed in recent years (especially regarding the introduction of new broadcasting platforms, such as digital television, internet protocol TV, mobile video services, and video on demand, as well as new advertising methods). The new directive aims to “achieve a modern, flexible and simplified framework for audiovisual media content,”29and by means like relaxing the rules on advertising in TV products (for example by abolishing the existing daily limit of three hours of advertising) or authorizing the use of product placement (defined by a clear legal framework), it hopes to “boost Europe’s creative economy” and “increase choice, diversity and investment in Europe’s audiovisual media industry.”30The crucial innovation, however, lies in a new definition of audiovisual media services, which are divided between “linear” services (offering content on the basis of program schedule, i.e. “traditional” TV broadcasting, “pushing” content to the viewers) and “non-linear” services (offering content in a form of a catalogue from which the consumer chooses, i.e. video on demand). This distinction in the type of media services corresponds to the two-tier system of regulation, applying “stricter” provisions of the AVMS directive exclusively to the linear media sector, while imposing only minimum obligations on the providers of non-linear media (which concern especially protection of minors and human dignity, protection of consumers, prevention of racial and sexual hatred, and the right to reply).31

  • 32 Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for information society and media, expressed her concern (...)
  • 33 According to the Commission, “The result of these negotiations represents a positive outcome for cu (...)

38Cultural diversity—its protection and promotion—is also stressed as one of the most prominent goals the new directive is supposed to achieve, both in various publicly available materials of the European Commission and its officials, explaining and legitimizing its introduction,32as well as in the very text of the AVMS directive, emphasizing (on the surface) cultural diversity as a specific value which the new legislation aims to safeguard. Comparing the final version with the original Commission’s proposal (European Commission, 2005e) and with the version adopted by the European Parliament (European Commission and European Parliament 2007), it is clear that most of the “cultural” passages were amended into it by the Parliament. In recital 1, the new directive is legitimized by the emergence of “new technologies” and aims to “ensure optimal conditions of competitiveness and legal certainty for Europe’s information technologies and its media industries and services.” However, the Parliament extended this sentence by adding words “as well as respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.” another change concerning the issue of cultural diversity is contained in recital 3, where the Commission’s original text “The importance of audiovisual media services for societies, democracy and culture justifies the application of specific rules to these services” (European Commission, 2005e) has been revised and enlarged by a sentence explicitly stating that “audiovisual media services are as much cultural goods as they are economic goods” (European Parliament and the Council, 2007). The “spirit” of this phrase is further conveyed— and substantially elaborated—in recital 5, which can be seen as another effort of the European Parliament to symbolically strengthen the cultural dimension of the new legislation. recital 5, which was not contained in the initial Commission’s proposal, reminds of the international framework for affirmation of cultural diversity, represented by the Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expression, which was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference on October 20, 2005, and then by the EU on December 18, 2006, as well as by negotiations of the EU with seventeen members of the World Trade organization (WTO) on the modifications of trade commitments in services under the General agreement on Trade in services (GATS), which effectively secured the exclusion of audiovisual content from these commitments.33

  • 34 In the impact assessment of the proposed AVMS directive (European Commission, 2005e), the Commissio (...)
  • 35 Preparing the draft of the new directive, the European Commission has made it clear that the possib (...)

39However, despite these comforting proclamations about cultural diversity in the recitals, the new AVMS directive does not represent any real progress in terms of defining what kind of culture has to be protected, what kind of diversity should be nurtured, and, most importantly, how these objectives should be achieved in practice. Building upon its legislative predecessor, the new directive leaves intact the provisions concerning the quotas for European and independent works (articles 4 and 5), which not only the Commission itself but also the majority of European broadcasters apparently see as an effective tool for promotion of cultural diversity which should be maintained in the future.34However, these quotas—retaining, of course, the old “where practicable” principle—are only valid for the linear services, while the entire sphere of on-demand media, whose increasing importance was one of the main reasons for revising the TWF directive, is left with a set of vague recommendations regarding “production of and access to European works.”35article 3i of the AVMS directive states that “such promotion could relate, inter alia, to the financial contribution made by such services to the production and rights acquisition of European works or to the share and/or prominence of European works in the catalogue of programs offered by the on-demand audiovisual media service” (European Parliament and the Council, 2007) and assigns the Member states the duty to report on the implementation of this paragraph (which should also be examined by an independent study). no matter how evasive the wording of this article already is, its effectiveness and practical impact is put in question even further by inserting the clause “where practicable and by appropriate means,” already known from articles 4 and 5 regulating television broadcasting. since it has already been difficult for the EU to truly enforce compliance to the relatively firmly defined program quotas, it is hard to imagine that the “encouragement to promote European works in non-linear media environment” (as this provision is internally termed by the Commission, see European Commission, 2005e) quoted above could be understood by national broadcasting authorities as something more than rhetoric.

6.8. Conclusion

40in the first part of this paper, I attempted to demonstrate how the rhetoric of the European audiovisual policy has moved away from concentrating on the role of broadcasting media in representing shared European culture and nurturing a common European identity, which it has characterized at the beginning of pan-European media regulation history, towards emphasizing their importance for preserving the unique character of various European cultures and thereby for promoting European “cultural diversity.” However, this objective remains largely unspecified. Both the text of the TWF directive as well as recent reports about the compliance of the European TV broadcasters with the directive’s main “cultural provisions”—the quotas on the proportion of European and independent works—suggest that cultural diversity is largely conceptualized in national terms and should be achieved by proliferation of national audiovisual industries across Europe. The new audiovisual Media services directive (European Parliament and the Council, 2007), despite being advertised by the European Commission as a major innovation in European media regulation, seems to be built upon the very same principles.

41As I have tried to point out in this paper, this approach contains several shortcomings, reaching from the market-driven and territorially reductionist notion of culture, which the analyzed legislation deals with only in relation to the particular nation-state (not recognizing language, ethnic, or religious diversity within the nation-states themselves), to the virtual resignation on the attempts to challenge the national viewing habits and to enable the national television audiences across Europe with more opportunities to confront their own lifestyles and collective imageries, as they are portrayed on their screens, with the ones from their fellow European countries. The lack of true diversity (regarding the land of origin as well as content) on television channels and the failure of the TWF directive to stimulate the cross-border exchange of programs was empirically demonstrated on the Czech TV market, which has in recent years been dominated by nationally oriented type of programming (even if containing an important share of local versions of various global TV formats), while the non-national European programming has been more or less silenced. The compliance to the TWF directive’s program quotas, which the main Czech national channels have been comfortably able to achieve (although without any proven relationship between the compliance and the respective legislative measures), says very little about what the people are actually watching on their TV screens, and practically nothing about how should the Czech TV culture reflect or even enrich the assumed European cultural heritage.

42Although this paper was not aimed at comparative analysis and dealt with a limited range of data, its findings indicate that the predominance of domestic programming and nation-oriented viewing patterns is a common characteristic of the European television landscape. This circumstance has resulted in Europe’s audiovisual fragmentation (rather than unification) and the state of media and audiences’ national particularism, which is bridged only by American series and films or by (global) television formats. It is difficult to imagine that the coming technological transformation of the audiovisual field, the “digital revolution” (levy, 2001), should somehow reverse this trend. If anything, it is usually being associated with intensifying processes of cultural and identity fragmentation. Contrary to Phillip Schlesinger’s observation that “the more the EU begins to behave like a federal political formation, the more it will need to define a supranational cultural policy” (Schlesinger, 1997, p. 371), the provisions contained in the new audiovisual Media services directive do not represent a step in this direction. They are driven mainly by the economic needs of the European audiovisual industries. They do not give the cultural aspects of television broadcasting and its potential for enhancing cultural diversity, or even establishment of European identity, any more real attention than the directive’s legislative predecessor. if there is not enough political will to deal with these issues now—at the dawn of the digital TV era— then in the future European regulators will very likely find the task of bringing cultural objectives back into the picture even more difficult, that is, if this task is even up for discussion at all.

Notes

1 The text is a revised, updated, and extended version of the paper “Promoting diversity, or Protecting national Culture? Television without Frontiers directive in the Context of the Czech Television landscape.” it was first presented at the conference “Comparing Media systems: east Meets West” at the Kliczkow Castle, Poland (April 23–25, 2007), and subsequently published in a post-conference volume (see Štětka, 2008).

2 In the Maastricht Treaty, the audiovisual sector is specifically referred to in the second paragraph of article 151: “action by the Community shall be aimed at encouraging cooperation between Member states and, if necessary, supporting and supplementing their action in the following areas:

  • -improvement of the knowledge and dissemination of the culture and history of European peoples;

  • -conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage of European significance;

  • -non-commercial cultural exchanges;

  • -artistic and literary creation, including in the audiovisual sector” (European union, 1992).

3 In its well-known statement, the resolution noted that for a European identity to emerge, the flow of information needs to be freed from national constraints: “European unification will only be achieved if Europeans want it. Europeans will only want it if there is such a thing as a European identity. A European identity will only develop if Europeans are adequately informed. At present, information vis à vis the mass media is controlled at national level” (qtd. from Collins, 2002, p. 13).

4 According to Gerard Delanty and Chris Rumford, the concept of unity in diversity is “currently the most influential expression of European identity” (Delanty and Rumford, 2005, p. 56).

5 At a Member state level, the average transmission time varied between 52.8 percent (Ireland) and 86.2 percent (Denmark) in 2003 and between 49.1 percent (Czech republic) and 86.3 percent (Denmark) in 2004 (European Commission, 2006d).

6 The Member states’ average compliance rates for all channels covered ranged from 50 percent (Belgium and Ireland) to 100 percent (Finland) in 2003 and from 45 percent (UK) to 100 percent (Estonia, Latvia, Malta, and Slovakia) in 2004 (European Commission, 2006d).

7 Scheduling of European works has stabilized in the EU at a level well above 60 percent of total qualifying transmission time (European Commission, 2006d).

8 The new Member states had a combined average transmission of 61.8 percent of European works in the post-accession period—from May 1 to December 31, 2004 (European Commission, 2006d).

9 The European audiovisual observatory noted that “in the five largest countries, European drama (non-national) has had great difficulty circulating over the years. For example, there is almost total resistance to European imports in the two anglo-saxon countries” (eao, 2005, p. 66).

10 These markets correspond with the five largest economies of the EU—the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain (EAO, 2005, p. 66). In 2002, 65.1 percent of imported fiction in Western Europe came from the United States, 15.8 percent from the region, and 12.4 percent from the rest of the world (Chalaby, 2006, p. 39).

11 As the European audiovisual observatory noted, “while these [co-productions] sometimes involve the participation of a European producer, it is more than likely that most are based on initiatives originated by north American companies” (EAO, 2005, p. 94).

12 This assessment is made also on the basis of the fall in new programs offered during the course of the year; the number of them fell from 844 to 816, reaching the lowest threshold of the four-year period 2001–2004 (EAO, 2005, p. 65).

13 According to the report by David Graham and assoc. ltd. (2005, pp. 95–96), six of the “old” EU Member states—Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the united Kingdom—apply higher percentage requirements than those contained in the directive on some (or all) of their broadcasters.

14 The EU 15 countries differ in whether they have incorporated the “where practicable” clause into their national legislations. according to David Graham and assoc. ltd. (2005, p. 90), Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, and Sweden are among those who have included these words in their broadcasting acts, while others have not, choosing the less “flexible” interpretation of the TWF directive. Some states (Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Spain) have also included a “nonslip-back clause” in their legislation concerning European programs, which demands that “broadcasters cannot show a lower proportion of European works than in the previous year” (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 90).

15 This definition is contained in most of the EU 15 countries, except for France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, which adopted stricter definitions by excluding programming likely to be produced domestically, like talk shows or current-affairs programs (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 89).

16 In Greece, for example, 25 percent of the TQT should be reserved for works produced in Greek; in the Netherlands, public service broadcasters are required to devote 50 percent of TQT to programs in Dutch or Friesian (private channels 40 percent only); in Sweden, 55 percent of the program budget of the public service broadcaster SVT has to be spent with producers based in Sweden (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 96).

17 In France, the law obliges terrestrial free-to-air channels to invest a minimum of 3.2 percent of net turnover on domestic films; for pay TV channels, this percentage rises to 20 percent. In Sweden or Finland, national channels also have to contribute to national film production. In Austria, broadcasters contribute to a centrally administered film fund (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 96).

18 The remaining two quadrants in the model (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 98) are occupied by the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden (flexible application of the TWF directive but high additional requirements) and Greece and Luxembourg (prescriptive application but low additional requirements). To be able to verify the Czech Republic’s position within this model, similar calculating measures used by the authors of the model would have to be applied; however, these were not given in the study.

19 These channels are TV nova (established in 1994 as the first national commercial TV station in the post-communist countries; it is currently owned by the U.S.-based company Central European Media enterprise, or CME), TV Prima (broadcasting since 1994, co-owned by the Swedish company MTG Broadcasting AB and Czech-based GES Media Europe) and two stations of the public service broadcaster Česká televize, ČT1 and ČT2. The market leader is TV nova, with a 40 percent audience share, followed by ČT1 (23 percent), TV Prima (19 percent) and ČT2 (8 percent); the rest of the shares (10 percent) goes to cable and satellite stations (according to http://www.ato.cz, retrieved March 3, 2008).

20 The reasons given for the non-compliance included “difficulty in finding European programmes” or in finding European programs at competitive prices, as well as the claim that the program offer is driven by audience demands for American over European films (Czech Council for Television and radio Broadcasting 2006, p. 53).

21 According to interviews among national regulators (performed by David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 93), only three of them stated that sanctions are applied “frequently,” four said “sometimes” and four said “never.” This complies with results from the survey among European broadcasters and regulators, showing that 59 percent of broadcasters and 79 percent of producers believe sanctions are never applied (David Graham and assoc. ltd., 2005, p. 93).

22 See http://www.rrtv.cz/cz/dynamic/memo.aspx, retrieved October 12, 2007.

23 This information is based on the author’s own secondary analysis of four full-month samples of program structure and audience ratings of the main Czech national TV stations (ČT1, nova, Prima; primary data provided by ATO-Mediaresearch, s.r.o.). During these four months (March, June, September, and December 2006), TV nova broadcast 217 internationally coproduced programs (programs involving one or more foreign country), 200 of which involved at least one non-European country (in 142 cases it was the United States). TV Prima broadcasted 59 co-productions, half of which involved a non-European country (the United States). ČT1 showed 90 coproduced programs altogether, 55 of which was “purely” European.

24 The only non-domestic European program in the Top 100 on TV Prima was the blockbuster movie Troy (audience rating 9.6 percent), which, however, is a product of a British-U.S. American co-production.

25 See also the Eurodata TV project, for example, at: http://www.mediametrie.fr/webmail/eurodatatvnews06_01_20.htm; retrieved April 12, 2007.

26 In a globalized television market, the question of origin of reality TV formats becomes increasingly obsolete; not just because the formats “purposefully eviscerate the national” to penetrate as many television markets as possible (Waisbord, 2004, p. 368), but also because they are themselves often transformed by numerous copies and spin-off versions, circulating around the globe.

27 According to Schlesinger, “it is simply assumed that consuming the audiovisual (cultural) products—of whatever kind—has a powerful impact on the culture as a way of life” (Schlesinger, 1997, p. 372).

28 The Member states had 24 months to adopt the provisions of the new directive into national law.

29 Qtd. From http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/reg/tvwf/modernisation/proposal_2005/index_en.htm; retrieved November 9, 2007.

30 Qtd. from http://europa.eu/rapid/pressreleasesaction.do?reference=MEMO/07/206&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guilanguage=en; retrieved November 9, 2007.

31 According to the Commission, “the different degrees of regulation for broadcast versus on-demand content therefore reflect differences in user choice and control, and the likely impact on society” (quoted from http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/reg/tvwf/modernisation/proposal_2005/index_en.htm; retrieved November 9, 2007).

32 Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for information society and media, expressed her concern for cultural diversity (and her confidence that the new directive will help protect it) in several texts and speeches that were aimed at announcing the coming change in audiovisual media regulation (see Reding, 2005a; 2005b; 2005c).

33 According to the Commission, “The result of these negotiations represents a positive outcome for cultural diversity in that the audiovisual sector now enjoys the same guarantees across the enlarged EU under the GATS (i.e. absence of market access and national treatment commitments), it is now clarified explicitly for the 25 Member states that the provision of content is excluded from the commitments on telecommunications services and safeguards are secured regarding the exclusion of audiovisual services enabled by computer and related services from the commitments in the computer services area” (European Commission, 2007d).

34 In the impact assessment of the proposed AVMS directive (European Commission, 2005e), the Commission explicitly stated, “The promotion of European works and works made by independent producers is held to be essential in order to contribute to cultural diversity within the EU, freedom of expression and pluralism. There is a general consensus not to change the rules relating to linear services.”

35 Preparing the draft of the new directive, the European Commission has made it clear that the possibility of applying some kind of quota policy to the non-linear media environment has never been seriously considered. As the European Commissioner Viviane Reding stated in her speech at the 2005 conference in Liverpool, “The issue of what to do in the non-linear environment is more controversial. While we can, i believe, agree on the objective of a vibrant European audiovisual production sector reflecting the diversity of our cultures, it is clear that transmission time quotas such as those in article 4—are not an option” (Reding, 2005a).

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 6.1. Share of European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/2168/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 6.2. Share of programming from independent producers on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/2168/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Figure 6.3. Proportion of domestic and non-domestic European programming on the main Czech national terrestrial TV stations (in %)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/2168/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Table6.1. Proportion of domestic and international production among the top 100 prime-time programs broadcast in prime time on the main Czech national TV stations (sample: 03,06,09,12/2006)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/2168/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Table6. 2. Prime-time fiction programs which achieved highest audience ratings on three main Czech national TVs (sample 03, 06, 09, 12/2006; highest episode’s ratings)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/2168/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 307k

Auteur

Václav Štětka has been a lecturer at the department of Media studies and Communication, Faculty of social studies, Masaryk University in Brno and, starting in October 2009, senior research fellow at the department of Politics and international relations of the University of Oxford. He received his Ph.D. in 2005 at the department of sociology, Masaryk University. His dissertation thesis focused on media representations of nationalism and national identity in the age of globalisation. His academic interests include media construction and representation of identity (particularly in context of globalisation and Europeanisation) and the social functions of mass media in late modern societies. Václav Štětka took part in various research projects including EUKidsOnline affiliated with LSE and Debating the European Constitution: National or Transnational Paths to a Supranational Issue? Affiliated with Loughborough University. Since 2007 he has been a co-editor of Mediální studia [Media studies], Czech and Slovak journal for critical media enquiry and member of the editorial board of Sociální studia [social studies], journal of the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University. E-mail: stetka@fss.muni.cz

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