The government continues to speed up deadlines for the new audiovisual law, despite first notice Launched at the end of last year European Commission for the delay. The plan now by the vice president for economic affairs, Nadia Calvino, is to start the parliamentary process between May and June to get the full regulatory text approved by the end of the year. This is an important step and It is highly anticipated by major telecom operators such as Telefónica And large TV groups like Atresmedia and MediasetIt is a safe measure to force Netflix, HBO, or Amazon to pay 5% of their income in Spain to finance European cinema.
In November of last year 2020, The European Commission has agreed to open a violation procedure against the Spanish executive and against 22 other member states – More from the UK – for not delivering guidance on audiovisual communication services in a timely fashion. The deadline to do so expired in mid-September. Only Hungary, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden did their duty on that date. This file is only the first of several steps to lead to a possible penalty. But all this was a warning to the sailors.
A few days ago, at the beginning of November, the government opened for public consultation the initial draft of the audiovisual law by which the directive would be transmitted to Spain. All the contributions of the various actors in the sector, whether from telecom, television or large digital platforms, were submitted before December 3, the deadline for their acceptance. From that moment until now the Vice President’s team Work on drafting the text continues. According to sources from the Minister of State for Communications, the goal we are working with now is that The final document was approved by the Cabinet between May and June Consequently, he was sent to the House of Representatives to start parliamentary procedures in the second part of the year. This way, you need to be ready before the exercise ends.
If these new deadlines are met It may mean approval of the final transcript one year after the requested deadline From Brussels. This is the long-awaited regulation by all “traditional” actors in the sector, as it not only orders some aspects related, for example, to the protection of minors or advertising, but also to contribute to the promotion of the European audiovisual work of the big companies. Thus, as a great modernity, Tech giants will be required to pay 5% of their “real” income into the country – Although they are billed from the outside – for this purpose, as the big telecom companies have already done with private televisions and traditional audiovisual sets.
As a preliminary step to this legislative movement, Netflix has taken the step of billing all of its services in the country through a local affiliate and not from the Netherlands as it has done since its inception in 2016. This process is similar to that which occurred at the time in the case of Microsoft – which is not required to pay higher taxes – But it was not followed by other competitors such as HBO itself, which continues to bill its customers from a parent company based in Stockholm (Sweden).
The contribution to European audiovisual production is not the only novelty of this pending law. The quantitative limits for the advertisement should be more flexible, but the protection of minors will also be strengthened Against harmful content. This happens when lawsuits proliferate against these types of platforms. The last case is the case of the Chinese giant TikTok, against which a class action was filed at the European level in this regard, in which Spanish organizations such as OCU or Asufin participated. The decision by both the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) and the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD), submitted by La Información, was to refer the case to their Irish counterparts.
Communications law is the same
Aside from audiovisual law, another major regulation for the future of telecommunications operators in Spain has yet to be reached. It comes to the extension General Law on Communications, Which should also transmit the legal system for the European Electronic Communication Code that was adopted in 2018. Last February, the European Commission repeated the same movement: I came to Spain and other European countries to delay this work to incorporate this regulation. According to the same sources from the Minister of State for Communications, The plan is to bring it to the House of Representatives around June and give it the legislative green light in the second part of the year..
The legal team of the Presidential Agency for Economic Affairs seeks to respond to dozens of contributions from various actors to a law that the telecommunications companies themselves described as a “toast to the sun” and a “missed opportunity.” Reason? I know Attempt to pay so-called “communication fees”Compiled by the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC), For giants like Microsoft, Google, or Facebook for services like messaging or video conferencing That traditional operators are competing with, but with a model that does not reflect the structure of this type of multinational company. Its turnover in Spain does not come from selling these products, but from other “premium” elements in its exposure or, directly, from advertising and data exploitation.
It remains to be seen whether the “small margin” that European regulations gave to various countries, as the foreign minister himself acknowledged, allows this wording to be amended. In fact, despite the first warnings from Brussels, these delays in processing texts will not be finally approved by the legislatures until the latter part of 2021. Big operators like Telefónica, Vodafone or Orange are still waiting for the government After years of demanding fair regulation of these multinational companies.