French regulator outlines rules for connected TV

French media regulator CSA plans to extend existing broadcasting rules to connected TV, and monitor developments through a new commission to be established in Jan. 2012. In outlining the regulator’s view on development of connected television services, Michel Boyon, CSA president, insisted that new online platforms needed to be brought into line with broadcasting.

Speaking at a symposium organized by the HD Forum and the HbbTV consortium, Boyon agreed it was still too early to foresee all the consequences of connected TV on broadcasting as a whole, but said it was important to act now to avoid the risk of jeopardizing the business of existing providers as well as the French movie industry. He also highlighted possible impact on freedom of choice for the TV viewer, in the absence of controls over ownership in the connected TV world.
Boyon said the CSA had identified four aspects of connected TV where the regulator should get involved. Firstly, connected TV should have exactly the same levels of protection for minors, personal integrity, and consumer purchasing. Second, the same rules should apply over ownership as in broadcasting to prevent one company or individual having too much power, creating a monopoly and restricting choice. Third, the obligation that every company deriving profits from creative works should also invest in its creation should be preserved.

Last, there needs to be development of co-regulation over professional audiovisual content circulating on the internet, meaning there should be scope for rules to evolve in the light of experience rather than all being laid down in the beginning. One example could be, over time, windows when movies can be available, which may be modified because of connected TV.