Paying more for less…

Summary 

  • Retail prices will rise in Eastern European and Baltic countries as cross-border access accelerates a move to exclusive, pan-European licencing
  • The quality, quantity and diversity of locally produced, culturally tailored content will decline as investment by local platforms and distributors falls
  • The quality and choice of local pay-TV and online distribution platforms will decline as a result of rights limitations and pan-European homogenisation

In 2016, Oxera assessed the likely impact of the European Commission’s emerging initiatives to facilitate cross-border access to audiovisual services. Our modelling revealed a disproportionate impact in Eastern European and Baltic countries, with consumer welfare set to decline by 25% in these territories due to higher prices and a reduced availability of desirable content.[1] 

We found that weakening the ability of rights-holders to licence content on a territory-by-territory basis would leave all European consumers worse off, as reduced content investments would result in fewer, lower-quality works being produced. At the same time, some consumers—particularly those in lower-income Member States—would have less access to high-quality content and/or have to pay higher prices than they do now. Finally, an accelerated convergence towards pan-European licensing would drive the homogenisation of both content and distribution services throughout the EU. These would be designed to appeal primarily to Western European markets, at the expense of tailored offerings for Eastern European and Baltic consumers. 
Paying more for less... the impact of cross-border access initiatives on consumers in Eastern Europe and Baltic countries
The impacts of these initiatives would be most pronounced in Eastern Europe

Notes

[1] The Eastern European and Baltic countries included in our study are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.