Last update: November 2021

3 mins to read - 2021/11/05

What Is the EU’s AVMSD Regulation?

As the digital world becomes more encompassing of our daily lives, it requires new regulations to oversee how our personal data is treated. In Europe, GDPR makes up the base regulation for ensuring that digital services and mobile apps are transparent with their data processing practices, and consumers aren’t being exploited. The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), or Directive 2010/13/EU, is the legal framework governing data privacy practices in a specific vertical – in this case, all traditional broadcast TV and on-demand services in Europe.

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What Is AVMSD?

Essentially, it’s a framework governing audiovisual content created in the European Union. It covers every aspect of audio or video content, including data privacy, content integrity, and accessibility of content deemed by European nations to have public value. It also takes its jurisdiction into the much-needed realm of protecting young users of digital services and mobile apps by fighting hate speech and laying down basic advertising standards.

While the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has previously released a framework for protecting minors from data privacy invasions and unethical digital advertising practices, this is the first framework of its kind in the EU. And it’s likely that it will inspire similar framework for parallel verticals.

Why Is AVMSD Necessary?

The European Commission passed AVMSD because it recognized that in the past decade our media viewing and listening habits have changed radically. Now, virtually anyone with a smartphone and a social media account is capable of broadcasting audio and video content. And, the European Commission underscored, it’s young people in particular who are most at risk using new forms of media – for example, Facebook or TikTok accounts – to globally disperse their personal data in the form of their image or voice print. It’s important that they are both aware of the repercussions of that, and that their data is kept as secure as possible.

Based in Europe, the data privacy purview of AVMSD works in tandem with GDPR, which it refers back to as a legal framework. In addition to this, AVMSD also looks to protect European content and programming from being monopolized by content from, e.g., the US and UK. Moreover, it seeks:

“to ensure that ‘free-to-air’ content of public value remains easily found and accessed by audiences, and that it continues playing a central role in stimulating the European creative economy and cultural diversity.”

Social Media Encompasses Audiovisual Services

In recent years, the way we take in multimedia content has undergone a momentous shift. Our viewing of video content has gone from primarily network TV to viewing digitally via YouTube and downloads, to bingeing on near-infinite quantities of series and movies with Netflix and other streaming services.

Social media accounts are a primary way many people get their news, with platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok including video sharing as one of their main utilities. Moreover, tech companies put considerably less effort into combatting misinformation in languages other than English, which puts European countries at a higher risk for dissemination of extremist content, hate speech, vaccine misinformation, and so on.

In light of this, AVMSD doesn’t seek to target social media accounts as a whole, but only to regulate how they treat audiovisual content in particular.

Protection of Content Integrity and Advertising Fairness

AVMSD also puts a framework in place to protect the integrity of audio and video content from being edited or otherwise altered by 3rd parties. This applies to both being altered by legitimate parties for commercial or advertising purposes, or being doctored to spread misinformation. To alter or overlay a piece of content, consent from the original creator or broadcaster must first be obtained.

Moreover, given these new platforms’ role in dispersing audiovisual content, AVMSD emphasizes their responsibility for ensuring that advertising practices are fair and transparent, especially when advertising towards children.

Accessibility and Country of Origin Principle

Another clause of AVMSD covers accessibility to broadcast events of cultural significance. This means that, e.g., an important sporting event such as the Olympic Games won’t be solely available on a pay-per-view channel, or it won’t clash with another culturally relevant event, such as the leader of a country addressing the nation.

The country of origin principle refers to the fact that each EU member state is legally responsible for its own audiovisual services. This means that its broadcast services and other providers are governed only by that country, and it is that government’s responsibility to ensure that audiovisual service practices are compliant with GDPR as well as the best practices outlines in AVMSD.

AVMSD and Data Privacy for Mobile Apps

While AVMSD covers a broad range of stipulations for how to keep the audiovisual industry safe, fair, and transparent, mobile apps should focus on data privacy regulation compliance first and foremost.

Using OpenBack’s privacy-first mobile engagement platform, your app can be compliant with GDPR, COPPA, HIPAA and all other regional privacy regulations by default. Get in touch with one of our experts to learn more about our platform, and how it uses device-side data processing to deliver highly personalized, real-time push notifications while keeping your users’ data secure and private.

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