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Product placement and sponsorship legislation within Europe and Sweden – a new era for Europe’s audiovisual media regulation

Danckler, Mathilda LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
Due to the rapidly changing pace of the audiovisual media landscape, consumers and especially minors are increasingly accessing media content via other digital platforms than traditional television and on-demand services. For that reason, is it today more profitable for companies to advertise through product placement and sponsorship on video-sharing platforms which are not regulated within the scope of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a European legal framework which covers commercial communication within all audiovisual media services. The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a complement to the Misleading Advertise Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practice Directive created to... (More)
Due to the rapidly changing pace of the audiovisual media landscape, consumers and especially minors are increasingly accessing media content via other digital platforms than traditional television and on-demand services. For that reason, is it today more profitable for companies to advertise through product placement and sponsorship on video-sharing platforms which are not regulated within the scope of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a European legal framework which covers commercial communication within all audiovisual media services. The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a complement to the Misleading Advertise Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practice Directive created to protected consumers from misleading advertising. Product placement and sponsorship have through history been regarded as a form of “hidden advertising” which easily could be misleading if not clearly informed for the consumers. Product placement and sponsorship has for this reason been subject to strict requirements in the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a minimum harmonization directive based on the graduated approach and shall be implemented in all Member States. Sweden has implemented the Audiovisual Media Service Directive through the Radio-och TV Act.

However, due to the volatility in the media landscape was a new legislative proposal amending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive adopted by the European Commission on the 25 of May 2016.

The overarching goal of the suggested revision of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive is to bring balance between the competitiveness of the free market and consumer protection. One way of achieving this aim is by making the rule concerning product placement and sponsorship for TV broadcasting and on-demand services more flexible by deregulating, while at the same time extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s scope to include video-sharing platforms.

Nevertheless, some Member States are critical to the suggested revision, including Sweden. The hesitation of the proposed revision is not because product placement is being changed from prohibited to admissible nor that the advertising limit of 20% goes from hourly limit to daily. The hesitation lies with extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s scope to include video-sharing platforms. The proposed revision has today is no elaborated definition of which services “video-sharing platforms” includes and could for this reason cause constitutional problems for the Member States since the revised legislation will lack foreseeability. The proposed provision of extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive scope to include video-sharing platforms does moreover not currently mention if the extending scope will be applied to commercial communications like product placement and sponsorship. An option suggested has been for the Member States to use self-regulation and/or co-regulation to approach legal provisions for audiovisual commercial communications. Worryingly, however, most national regulatory bodies do not monitor the implementation of the codes of conduct constructed by self-regulation which means that the purpose of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive could go lost.

Most Member States, European Institutions, and Market Actors supports the proposed revision since it is contributing to a higher level of consumer protection and competitiveness within in Europe. The suggested revision for the rules concerning product placement and sponsorship will, therefore, most likely fulfill the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s purpose.
Given that there is no doubt that young audiences are increasingly consuming content on video-sharing platforms like Youtube, the extended scope of video-sharing platforms should apply to the rules concerning product placement and sponsorship to give the consumers a higher level of protection. Many of the top-earning “vloggers” produce content directly aimed at children and teenager by using product placement and sponsorship. Self-regulation and/ or co-regulation could, therefore, leave a significant gap in the protection of minors physical, mental and moral development and will contribute to an uneven-level playing field in the European market for advertising. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
På grund av den snabba förändringen i det audiovisuella medielandskapet får konsumenterna och särskilt minderåriga alltmer tillgång till medieinnehåll via andra digitala plattformar än traditionella TV och video on demand tjänster. Av den anledningen är det idag mer lönsamt för företag att annonsera genom produktplacering och sponsring på plattformar för videodelning som inte regleras inom ramen för direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster.

Direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster är en europeisk rättslig ram som omfattar kommersiell kommunikation inom alla audiovisuella medietjänster. Direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster kompletterar direktivet om vilseledande annonsering och direktivet om otillbörliga affärspraxis som skapats... (More)
På grund av den snabba förändringen i det audiovisuella medielandskapet får konsumenterna och särskilt minderåriga alltmer tillgång till medieinnehåll via andra digitala plattformar än traditionella TV och video on demand tjänster. Av den anledningen är det idag mer lönsamt för företag att annonsera genom produktplacering och sponsring på plattformar för videodelning som inte regleras inom ramen för direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster.

Direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster är en europeisk rättslig ram som omfattar kommersiell kommunikation inom alla audiovisuella medietjänster. Direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster kompletterar direktivet om vilseledande annonsering och direktivet om otillbörliga affärspraxis som skapats för att skyddade konsumenter från vilseledande reklam. Produktplacering och sponsring har genom historien betraktats som en form av "dold reklam" som lätt kan vara vilseledande om den inte är klart informerad för konsumenterna. Produktplacering och sponsring har därför varit föremål för strikta krav i direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster.

Direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster är ett minimisamregleringsdirektiv baserat på den ”gradindelade principen” och ska genomföras i alla medlemsstater. Sverige har infört direktivet om audiovisuell medietjänst genom Radio- och TV-lagen. På grund av volatiliteten i medielandskapet har emellertid ett nytt lagstiftningsförslag om ändring av direktivet om audiovisuell medietjänst blivit antaget av Europeiska kommissionen den 25 maj 2016.

Det övergripande målet med den föreslagna revideringen av direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster är att skapa balans mellan den fria marknadens konkurrenskraft och konsumentskydd. Ett sätt att uppnå detta mål är att göra reglerna för produktplacering och sponsring mer flexibla inom ramen för tv-sändning och video on demand-tjänster genom att avreglera samtidigt som direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänsten utvidgas till att omfatta plattformar för videodelning.

Ändå är vissa medlemsstater kritiska mot den föreslagna revideringen, inklusive Sverige. Kritiken mot den föreslagna revisionen ligger inte att produktplacering nu ändras från att vara förbjuden till att bli tillåten som huvudregel. Kritiken är inte heller mot att annonsgränsen på 20% går från att vara en timgräns till att bli en dag gräns. Kritiken mot den föreslagna revisionen ligger i att utvidga direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänsten till att omfatta plattformar för videodelning. Den föreslagna revisionen har idag ingen detaljerad definition av vilka tjänster "videodelningsplattformar" omfattar och kan därför orsaka konstitutionella problem för medlemsstaterna eftersom den reviderade lagstiftningen saknar förutsägbarhet. Den föreslagna revisionen om att utvidga direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänsten till att omfatta videodelningsplattformar nämner inte för tillfället inte om det utvidgade tillämpningsområdet kommer att tillämpas på kommersiell kommunikation som produktplacering och sponsring. Ett alternativ som föreslås har varit att medlemsstaterna ska använda självreglering och/eller samreglering för att reglera de rättsliga bestämmelserna för audiovisuell kommersiell kommunikation. Oroande nog övervakar dock de flesta nationella tillsynsorganen inte genomförandet av de uppförandekoder som är konstruerade av självreglering, vilket innebär att syftet med direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster kan gå förlorat genom självreglering.

De flesta medlemsstater, europeiska institutioner och marknadsaktörer stöder den föreslagna revideringen eftersom den bidrar till en högre nivå av konsumentskydd och konkurrenskraft inom Europa. Den föreslagna revisionen av reglerna om produktplacering och sponsring kommer därför troligen att uppfylla syftet med direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänster.

Med tanke på att det inte finns något tvivel om att ungdomar i allt större utsträckning konsumerar medieinnehåll på videoplattformar som Youtube, bör den utvidgade revisionen av direktivet om audiovisuella medietjänsten tillämpa reglerna för produktplacering och sponsring även på videodelnings plattformar för att ge konsumenterna en högre skyddsnivå. Många av de bäst betalda "vloggarna" producerar idag innehåll direkt riktat till barn och tonåringar genom att använda produktplacering och sponsring. Självreglering och/eller samreglering kan därför lämna ett betydande hål i skyddet av minderårigas fysiska, mentala och moraliska utveckling och kommer även att bidra till en ojämn konkurrens på den europeiska marknaden för reklam. (Less)
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author
Danckler, Mathilda LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Audiovisual Media Service Directive, European Media Law, European Advertising Law, Intellectual Property Law
language
English
id
8941267
date added to LUP
2018-06-08 10:17:00
date last changed
2018-06-08 10:17:00
@misc{8941267,
  abstract     = {Due to the rapidly changing pace of the audiovisual media landscape, consumers and especially minors are increasingly accessing media content via other digital platforms than traditional television and on-demand services. For that reason, is it today more profitable for companies to advertise through product placement and sponsorship on video-sharing platforms which are not regulated within the scope of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a European legal framework which covers commercial communication within all audiovisual media services. The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a complement to the Misleading Advertise Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practice Directive created to protected consumers from misleading advertising. Product placement and sponsorship have through history been regarded as a form of “hidden advertising” which easily could be misleading if not clearly informed for the consumers. Product placement and sponsorship has for this reason been subject to strict requirements in the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

The Audiovisual Media Service Directive is a minimum harmonization directive based on the graduated approach and shall be implemented in all Member States. Sweden has implemented the Audiovisual Media Service Directive through the Radio-och TV Act. 

However, due to the volatility in the media landscape was a new legislative proposal amending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive adopted by the European Commission on the 25 of May 2016.

The overarching goal of the suggested revision of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive is to bring balance between the competitiveness of the free market and consumer protection. One way of achieving this aim is by making the rule concerning product placement and sponsorship for TV broadcasting and on-demand services more flexible by deregulating, while at the same time extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s scope to include video-sharing platforms. 

Nevertheless, some Member States are critical to the suggested revision, including Sweden. The hesitation of the proposed revision is not because product placement is being changed from prohibited to admissible nor that the advertising limit of 20% goes from hourly limit to daily. The hesitation lies with extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s scope to include video-sharing platforms. The proposed revision has today is no elaborated definition of which services “video-sharing platforms” includes and could for this reason cause constitutional problems for the Member States since the revised legislation will lack foreseeability. The proposed provision of extending the Audiovisual Media Service Directive scope to include video-sharing platforms does moreover not currently mention if the extending scope will be applied to commercial communications like product placement and sponsorship. An option suggested has been for the Member States to use self-regulation and/or co-regulation to approach legal provisions for audiovisual commercial communications. Worryingly, however, most national regulatory bodies do not monitor the implementation of the codes of conduct constructed by self-regulation which means that the purpose of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive could go lost.

Most Member States, European Institutions, and Market Actors supports the proposed revision since it is contributing to a higher level of consumer protection and competitiveness within in Europe. The suggested revision for the rules concerning product placement and sponsorship will, therefore, most likely fulfill the Audiovisual Media Service Directive’s purpose. 
Given that there is no doubt that young audiences are increasingly consuming content on video-sharing platforms like Youtube, the extended scope of video-sharing platforms should apply to the rules concerning product placement and sponsorship to give the consumers a higher level of protection. Many of the top-earning “vloggers” produce content directly aimed at children and teenager by using product placement and sponsorship. Self-regulation and/ or co-regulation could, therefore, leave a significant gap in the protection of minors physical, mental and moral development and will contribute to an uneven-level playing field in the European market for advertising.},
  author       = {Danckler, Mathilda},
  keyword      = {Audiovisual Media Service Directive,European Media Law,European Advertising Law,Intellectual Property Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Product placement and sponsorship legislation within Europe and Sweden – a new era for Europe’s audiovisual media regulation},
  year         = {2018},
}