Novelties in the new General Law of Audiovisual Communication

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ley general de comunicación audiovisual

Novelties in the new General Law of Audiovisual Communication

Law 13/2022 of General Law on Audiovisual Communication (hereinafter, “LGCA“) has come into force on July 9th, and it updates and develops the legal framework relating to the audiovisual communication sector, establishing a more level playing field for all players competing in the audiovisual market for the same audience (regardless of the channel used by each of them) by regulating guidelines and rules that will apply to all of them equally.

Therefore, this LGCA has two main objectives: 

  • the permanence of the cultural, linguistic and gender diversity of the countries, and
  •  the creation of a level playing field for all types of audiovisual media services (although it is true that audiovisual media service providers must comply with the legal system and jurisdiction of the Member State in which their headquarters are located).

Main news included in the new LGCA:

Promotion of European audiovisual works and defense of linguistic pluralism

Television audiovisual media service providers are still required to reserve at least 51% of their programming for European audiovisual works and 10% for European works by independent producers. Thus, on-demand television audiovisual media service providers must reserve 30% for European works, half of which must be works in the official languages of Spain.

With regard to the obligation for the advance financing of European works, RTVE must allocate 6% of its eligible income to the advance financing of European audiovisual works, under certain conditions. This can be done directly or through the purchase of exploitation rights, as well as through the contribution of the funds for the protection and promotion of the cinematog

It is worth mentioning the extension of the obligations to finance European audiovisual works in the linear and on-demand television field, and to those providers not established in Spain but based in other Member States that direct part of their content to a Spanish audience. In this case, their obligation to contribute to the advance financing of European works will be subject to the computable income from the provision of audiovisual services in Spanish territory.

Strengthening the protection of minors

In this law, special attention or focus has been placed on reinforcing the protection of minors, establishing obligations for audiovisual communication service providers to provide information on content that may be inappropriate or harmful for this audience by using age rating systems. 

The obligation has been established to broadcast programs or audiovisual content that are not recommended for minors outside the time slot between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m

Other prohibitions and restrictions imposed in order to strengthen the protection of minors

In this attempt to reinforce the protection of minors, a series of absolute prohibitions are also established for the subliminal advertising of certain products such as tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Likewise, restrictions on the advertising of other products are established for certain time slots, as in the case of, for example, alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of more than 20 degrees (specifically, they may only be advertised within the time slot from 1:00 am to 5:00 am) or alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of less than 20 degrees, which may only be advertised within the time slot from 8:30 pm to 5:00 am. 00h to 5.00h) or alcoholic beverages of less than 20 proof, which may only be advertised between 20.30h and 5.00h, as well as the advertising of games of chance and betting, esotericism and para-sciences is also restricted within the time slot from 1.00h to 5.00h.

Obligations for influencers in Spain and limits to advertising

The LGCA makes special mention of users of special relevance who use video sharing services through platforms, where the figure of influencers fits. Among the requirements to be included in this category, the following are detailed:

  • The owner of the service must obtain significant income through this economic activity.
  • That the function of the service is to inform, entertain or educate and the main purpose of the service is the distribution of audiovisual content.
  • That the service provided is intended for a significant part of the general public and may have a clear impact on it.
  • That the user is editorially responsible for the audiovisual content.
  • That the service is offered through electronic communications networks and is established in Spain.

Other news of interest

The LGCA focuses on streaming payment platforms, video sharing services through platforms and influencers, as mentioned above. In this regard, these operators, as long as they are established in Spain in accordance with the requirements of the law, must be registered in the new state registry of audiovisual communication service providers, video sharing service providers through platforms and audiovisual communication service aggregation service providers.  

The LGCA promotes equality through the implementation of measures such as the promotion of the production of audiovisual works directed or produced by women, the obligation to allocate 30% to works directed or created exclusively by women, the express inclusion of women’s sports, etc.

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