Milestone for European commercial TV

By Chris Dziadul
November 4, 2009 10.27 UK

20 years of commercial TV in Europe is being celebrated today at the 2nd Annual ACT conference in Brussels.

In an announcement prior to the event, ACT says that over the two decades the TV landscape has developed from one with 47 national TV channels to a pluralistic industry with over 3,300 channels throughout the continent.

However, the industry today also faces a number of challenges. Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media said: “The biggest challenge for the next European Commission will be to work effectively to accelerate the recovery from the world economic downturn. Information and communication technologies, including media, will play a crucial role in this process as a source of productivity, innovation and growth.”

Philippe Dulesine, ACT president and CEO RTL Belgium commented: “It is the attractiveness of TV and enduring interest of people in it, which ensure that TV – sometimes combined with other platforms – will also in future remain the key medium to reach out to mass audiences. Television will not only survive, it will thrive. But our ability to do so remains linked to European regulation. For commercial television to flourish in the future, a regulatory rethink is needed, which allows to move away from prescriptive micro-management and instead provides outcomes, which work with the flow of technological change.”

Ross Biggam, ACT DG, concluded: “As we move from the world of ‘broadcasting’ to one of ‘multiplatform distribution of audiovisual content’, two things will remain certain. That the viewer’s control over what to watch, when and where to watch it will only continue to increase. And for that, the decisive factor in our business is what it always has been: the programmes.”