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This research report was commissioned by the UK communications regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom). The European Commission in December 2005 proposed an Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS), which extends television broadcast regulation to Internet Protocol delivery. The report examines the indirect impacts of the proposal’s regulatory definitions for new multimedia services in the UK and across Europe, and the specific effects of regulation in three case studies: Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), online games and mobile multimedia. The forerunner of the AVMS (the ‘Television without Frontiers’ Directive) affects only licensed broadcasters directly. The AVMS as proposed will affect a very broad range of stakeholders who were regulated by generic regulation such as the E-Commerce Directive. We conclude that the AVMS proposal does not offer firms, particularly the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that can be expected to play a major role in driving new media innovation, with sufficient regulatory certainty to encourage investment in European Union (EU) multimedia sectors. This study does not attempt to describe material changes or improvements that could be made to the draft Directive to ameliorate the regulatory impacts identified, but the study does point to the need for greater regulatory certainty as to the scope of the regulation of new services and the need for clear commitment to ‘light touch’ regulatory techniques.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Assessing Indirect Regulatory Impacts

  • Chapter Two

    Examining the Economic Impact of Broadband Services

  • Chapter Three

    Assessing Regulatory Impacts through Value Chain Analysis

  • Chapter Four

    IPTV Case Study

  • Chapter Five

    Mobile Multimedia Case Study

  • Chapter Six

    Online Gaming Case Study

  • Chapter Seven

    Indirect Impact Assessment for Broadband ISPs

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusion: Indirect Impacts of the AVMS

  • Appendix A

    A Simple Game for ISP Choice

  • Appendix B

    Glossary

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the United Kingdom Office of Communications and was conducted by RAND Europe.

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