Events & News


From Vision to Action: Realising the EU Media Market in the Digital World

Dr Carmina Crusafon, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Journalism and Communication, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain)

23 Aug 2012

CIT Auditorium, National University of Singapore Level 2, Computer Centre, 2 Engineering Drive 4 Singapore 117584

4 – 5.30 pm


The European Union (EU) has undertaken several actions towards developing a single market for media, yet this goal is far from being met. Media in the EU are still viewed within national perimeters and efforts toward joint collaborative, pan-European media projects have yet to bear fruit. Despite internal barriers, the EU is currently developing a Media Policy based on two key issues: digitization and creative industries.

This lecture will present an overview of the media landscape in the EU, explain why a single digital market is important, and analyze the EU’s actions in this field. Looking at media policy, Dr Crusafon will explain why EU policy-making is focused on the digital agenda and how it is trying to balance market and cultural considerations. Her analysis will also reveal the multi-level nature of media governance in the digital world.

About the speaker

Dr Carmina Crusafon is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Communication Studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). She is a researcher in Media Systems (global and supranational) and in Media Policy (European Union and Latin America). She is deputy director of the Ibero-American Observatory of Communication and she is co-editor of the Spanish Journal “Conexiones. Revista Iberoamericana de Comunicación”. She is vice chair of the Communication Law and Policy section at the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).

Event Report

About 6 million individuals work in culture and creative industries in the EU, and the media industry contributes about 3% to the EU’s GDP, with a turnover of about €500 billion/year. Despite media policy in the EU dating back to the 1980s, the media market and landscape in the EU are highly fragmented, as Dr Crusafon’s lecture revealed.

For example, the cinema industry in the EU produces among the highest number of films worldwide, and cinemas boast high attendance rates. However, movies are generally not circulated out of local markets, and less than ten per cent are released in more than five markets. Even with dubbing commonplace and subtitles ubiquitous, the diversity of languages is  a barrier for the circulation not only of films but also of other audiovisual media, such as television.

However, the media landscape is undergoing big changes as the EU moves toward a digital single market. This has been accelerated by the digitisation of content, and the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU)[1], on which media policy in the EU is largely based, that aims to provide a framework for cross-border audiovisual media services. 

Dr Crusafon explained that the difficulty of coordinating and implementing media policy in the EU lies in the dual perspectives that have to be considered and balanced. Firstly, the economic and cultural dimensions of media policy have to be considered. Secondly, the contrasting natures of public and state-owned media outlets, and private and commercial ones that has to be governed by the same media policy. Lastly should be considered the interests of national companies, that is often at odds with the European interest.

She spoke about the development of media policy in the EU and the demands that have to be considered in making media policy, taking into account the various EU institutions, different national media policies, and the media industry as a whole. She also highlighted the cultural significance of media policy, especially as the Commission sees it as a crucial component in creating a European identity.

Apart from the regulatory framework, support mechanisms, and the external dimensions are the pillars of EU media policy. Funding is provided to develop support networks to preserve and enhance European cultural diversity and increase the circulation of European audiovisual works inside and outside the EU, coordinated through the MEDIA programme.[2] With regards to the external dimension of EU media policy, the EU has often included cultural protocols in the negotiations of its economic partnership agreements, for example, with Korea.

However, despite all these measures, American movies still dominate the European markets. As Dr Crusafon explained, in comparison with other EU policies, media policy is still not as well-funded and that it could perhaps achieve more of its stated objectives if more funding were provided.