AIG Newsletter 20 February 2023
DG CNECT study on the impact of recent developments in digital advertising on privacy, publishers and advertisers
On 30 January, DG CNECT’s published a study on the impact of recent developments in digital advertising on privacy, publishers and advertisers. The study indicates the need to reform digital advertising, and underlines that digital advertising which uses personal data, tracking and massive-scale profiling can have serious implications on data protection, security and democracy. It also notes that sufficient evidence does not exist to prove that this model of advertising is more efficient than models which do not use tracking and profiling.
The first section of the study focuses on the evolution of digital advertising over the years. It notes the growth of search advertising and social media, and states that large platforms have gained influence and are now able to generate ad revenues as publishers and intermediaries, contributing to a complex market with products that use large amounts of personal data and profiling techniques. The Commission notes that European publishers have struggled to compete for digital advertising revenues, suggesting that the transparency and accountability in this ecosystem must be improved further.
Priority question for written answer to the Commission from Geoffroy Didier (EPP), subject: Taxing digital platforms to fund the media
Věra Jourová, VP of the Commission for Values and Transparency, recently stated that she 'dreams' of taxing digital platforms to fund the media…In the light of the ongoing work on the EMFA:
- Has the Commission assessed the decline in media advertising revenues? If so, what conclusions were reached?
- Are online intermediary services the only platforms concerned, or are VOD and similar platforms also concerned? Are we talking about the media defined in the scope of the forthcoming legislation on media freedom, those covered by the AVMSD or just press?
- How would this tax be reconciled with Article 13(2) of the AVMSD, which provides for the possibility for MS to introduce either an investment obligation for VOD platforms or a tax on those platforms to finance film agencies?
Answer given by Vice-President Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission acknowledges the decline in media advertising revenues and is preparing a Media Industry Outlook report that will be published in 2023. Independently from potential actions to support the media sector, EUMS have the possibility to require media service providers (including VOD providers) in the sense of the AVMSD to contribute financially to the production of European works.
EP ITRE Committee adopts its report on the Data Act
On 9 February, the EP ITRE Committee voted and adopted its Data Act draft report.
In the report, MEPs focused on measures which enable users to gain access to data they produce. The draft text also outlined how public entities could access and use data that is held by the private sector. The Parliament will vote on the report as a whole in a plenary session, between 13-16 March.
EUROPEAN MEDIA FREEDOM ACT
EP CULT, LIBE, and IMCO Committees held two public hearings on the European Media Freedom Act
On 31 January, the EP LIBE, CULT and IMCO Committees organised a public hearing on the EMFA, which included Marie Frenay, a cabinet member under Vice-President Jourová.
Frenay underlined the role of the Act in avoiding issues with its implementation. Additional elements included the importance of legal clarity, concrete definitions, proper implementation, stronger surveillance and institutional oversight. The need for more transparency in media ownership, better provision for state advertising and greater independence for the European board were also covered.
On 6 February, the CULT Committee held a second public hearing with the IMCO and LIBE committees. The meeting was divided into two panels, whereby 5 experts intervened. Issues that emerged from the meeting included the independence of the board, the lack of measures in case of infringement of the obligations set out, issue of large platforms, the nature of Article 17 (Content of Media Service Providers on Very Large Platforms), and the EMFA legal basis.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL SUMMIT
European Council holds special one day Summit
On 9 February, heads of state and government met for a special European Council Summit, which focused on Ukraine, with an in-person session with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the economy, migration, the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria amongst other issues. The meeting resulted in the adoption of a set of conclusions.
On the EU’s competitiveness on the global stage, leaders focused on how the EU can strengthen its strategic sovereignty and make its economic, industrial and technological base fit for the green and digital transitions. This debate was centered around harnessing the full potential of the EU Single Market, and the conclusions reiterated the Council’s call for the Commission to present a strategy at EU level to boost competitiveness and productivity. This will be discussed again at the next Summit in March.
They also discussed the recent Commission communication on a green deal industrial plan, with the conclusions calling for work to be advanced on numerous areas, including boosting skills in response to labour shortages. Leaders also stressed the need for an ambitious and robust trade agenda, to guarantee support for the WTO, and a multilateral rules-based system and stressed the importance of free trade agreements in this respect.
EP CULT - The influence of social media on the development of children and young people
On 1 March, the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies will hold a workshop on "The influence of social media on the development of children and young people" during the CULT Committee meeting.
During this workshop, three experts will discuss the influence of social media on the development of children and young people, children's digital practices, online safety and wellbeing in the family and school context, and the project Children Online - Research and Evidence.