EC Rules Could Stifle Online Investment, Public Broadcasters Warn


Publicly-funded broadcasters in Europe say a proposal to introduce BBC-style “public value test” across the continent would straitjacket their ability to innovate online. Options proposed under a European Commission review of how state aid applies to public service broadcasting include freeing publicly-funded networks to make more money from commercial sources, in exchange for submitting to a test before launching new TV and internet services – a prospect that raises the spectre of lengthy, BBC Trust-style rigmarole for Channel 4 and ITV.

Commercial rivals want to keep restrictions on state aid to public operators, but the publicly-funded broadcasters, meeting in Brussels yesterday to discuss the review of the rules which began in January 2008, cautioned against introducing red tape in return for relaxing the rules. Henk Hagoort, chairman of Holland’s NPO, told MEPs (via it would

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