Media in the European Union

The audiovisual media sector is an important sector in the European Union (EU). From an economic perspective, as it provides jobs. And since the media make programmes for all kinds of groups in society, it also has social and cultural significance.

Audiovisual Media Services Directive: the same rules throughout Europe

In the European Union, goods and services may be traded freely across national borders. This also applies to media services. The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive provides the statutory framework. It ensures that, in every EU member state, the same basic rules apply for:

  • advertising and sponsoring;
  • protection of minors;
  • promoting European media productions (like films and TV programmes); 
  • subtitling;
  • broadcasting national sports and other events.

State aid may not lead to unfair competition

State aid to the media may not lead to unfair competition. The European Commission keeps a close watch on this. In 2010, the Commission completed a study of the funding of Dutch public broadcasting. It found that the Netherlands complies with European rules on state aid.

EU support for the media

The Creative Europe programme promotes trans-European cultural cooperation. It also supports audiovisual projects. The programme’s aim is to contribute to initiatives that promote the development, distribution or access to European audovisual projects, as well as to foster employment and economic growth in Europe.

The Creative Europe programme follows on from the European Media and Culture Programmes (2007-2013) and will run to 2020. The budget for 2014 to 2020 is €1.462 million, of which €824 million is earmarked for media.

For more information on grants from this programme, please contact the national Creative Europe Desk. The desk is run by DutchCulture and provides help and advice in applying for grants.