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Smart TV laws to see increased debate in Europe

As purchases of smart TVs start to take off in Europe, debate looks set to intensify over how the content they deliver is regulated, according to a new study from the European Audiovisual Laboratory.

With smart TVs capable of delivering both broadcast linear content and narrowcast video-on-demand, the regulation in parallel of these two types of content is increasingly asking for attention, not only by EU policy makers but also by their national counterparts, according to the report.

Alexander Scheuer of the Saarbrücken-based European Institute for Media Law (EMR) states that while there is no particular pressure to reform the already complex structure of legal instruments with a bearing on connected television, he predicts “a fascinating continuation of the debate, which is expected to intensify after the European Parliament elections and the appointment of a new European Commission in 2014.”

Also in the study, the Observatory’s new executive director Susanne Nikoltchev asserts that national regulatory authorities will figure prominently in efforts to provide an overarching legal framework for regulating public service media in a connected environment.

“As the case may be, they might have to multi-task as regulators, monitors, supervisors, reformers and sometimes cheerleaders,” states Ms. Nikoltchev. “And they will have to grow alongside the technology that will continue to dictate the speed and the direction of all developments”.

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