FIAD Secretariat attends the first European Discoverability Forum
On March 9, 2023, the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ECCD) held the first edition of the European Discoverability Forum, with the support of MEPs Ibán García del Blanco, Alexis Georgoulis, and Niklas Nienass, who are also members of the Cultural Creators Friendship Group and co-organizers of the event.
The FIAD Secretariat attended the event that began with opening remarks from MEPs Alexis Georgoulis and Niklas Nienass. The conference consisted of two panels focused on advancing European cultural and creative content and supporting those who create and distribute it.
"Cultural European creation should be much more than discoverable. Should be visible. Should be obvious. Should be everywhere" MEP Alexis Georgoulis (TheLeft, EL)
"The rise of digital platforms poses some challenges and black boxes: we need to have a democratic discussion about the criteria and algorithms that are shaping European content consumption"
MEP Niklas Nienaß (Greens, DE)
For the first discussion, panellists, including policy makers and representatives of the cultural sector, agreed that discoverability of content is a crucial issue for the cultural sector. The rise of digital platforms greatly impacted the sector and made it imperative for cultural actors to adapt to the changing digital landscape. The role of algorithms in shaping cultural consumption was discussed, with some panellists expressing concern that these algorithms may favour certain paradigms over others, leading to a homogenization of cultural content.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Catherine Magnant (Head of Cultural Policy at the European Commission) announced that the Commission is currently working on a study on discoverability to be published in 2024. The definition of discoverability will be the first step, followed by an evidence-based diagnostic to identify options for action at the European level. The study will cover all sectors, including audiovisual and music, while also taking into account the impact on cultural and linguistic diversity and accessibility for people with disabilities and lower incomes. “The study is essential but complex and the European Commission is committed to continuing the dialogue with the sector” Magnant said.
The second panel titled “How to better promote EU works and make it discoverable ?”. It identified transparency in algorithms, education, support for local platforms and players as the key factors necessary to achieve the goal of discoverability.
According to AVMS Head of Sector of DG CONNECT Marta Sanagustin, discoverability of European work is already at the centre of the EU legislative body, although the texts refer to related issue of prominence of European content. She reminded that already the 2018 AVMS Directive introduced European quota obligations for video-on-demand’s (VOD) catalogue and the obligation to ensure their prominence. However, the Directive does not provide a definition of prominence, leaving a large margin of manoeuvre for Member States (MSs) to decide how to implement these obligations. The results of an ongoing independent study on the EU quota provision and a report from MSs on how they implemented Article 13 of the AVMS Directive will provide more insight into the implementation of these obligations.
Karmi Ibourki (chair of CSA Belgium and former president of ERGA) discussed the transposition of the AVMS Directive and the variation among MSs in their implementation. The effect of the transposition is still difficult to assess, and more concrete information is needed to determine if the market is responding to the objective of the directive. However, he also mentioned how the ERGA 2022 report on the implementation and enforcement of the Art.13 of AVMSD already provided valuable insights on the matter (link to the ERGA report).
Pascal Rogard moderated the second panel and pointed out the obligation for streaming platforms to communicate the number of views under the Copyright Directive. He stated that the decrease in revenue experienced by major platforms such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime is impacting the development and production of new content. The lack of European platforms compared to the abundance of European works on US platforms was also noted by the moderator.
In conclusion, panellists agreed that the European Union is home to a rich and diverse cultural heritage, encompassing a wide range of audio-visual and musical works. However, the challenge of making these works discoverable and promoting them to a wider audience remains. The conference emphasised the importance of cultural diversity and the need for specific regulations to support it. The panellists also stressed the need for more research, education, and support for local platforms and players, as well as transparency in the use of algorithms.