Greater cross-border access to audiovisual (AV) content and services, as outlined in the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy, is likely to be significantly detrimental to European consumers and the AV industry in Europe, as well as to international AV businesses that are active in Europe.
This joint report, by consultancies Oxera and O&O, demonstrates that although the Commission’s proposals are intended to increase the availability of content across Europe, it is likely that they would result in significant adverse short-term impacts (up to €9.3bn welfare loss per annum), and that the medium- to long-term consumer outcomes would be worse than they are today (up to €4.5bn welfare loss per annum). In particular, consumers would be worse off through a combination of two main effects:
- less access to content, and/or higher prices—consumers, particularly those in lower-income Member States, would have less access to content and/or have to pay higher prices than they do now;
- less content being made—undermining the current system of exclusive and territorial licensing would reduce investment in content, resulting in less content being produced.
As well as the adverse impact on consumer welfare, changes to content production would be likely to reduce cultural diversity in the AV sector across Europe as a result of a weakening in the financial position of many local producers, publishers, distributors and platforms.