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Taxes for broadcasters in Europe

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:40 pm
by EmaM
Hi there,

I've been looking for any information on levies/taxes/tariffs for television/broadcasters in the European countries. Maybe you could share useful links, research or simply keywords to use. The topic and related vocabulary is totally new to me.

Re: Taxes for broadcasters in Europe

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:08 pm
by AndyJ
Hi EmaM

As this forum is all about copyright, I'll assume that you want to known about fees and levies etc in connection with the use of copyright material by broadcasters. My second assumption is that you are referring to the European Union, rather than all Eurropean states, although in theory, the same procedures would apply to the latter.

The first thing to say is that each member state within the EU has its own collecting organisations (sometimes referred to as collective (copyright) management organisations or CMOs) which are there to license the use of works on behalf of their members. For example in the UK there are 3 prinicpal organisation concerned with audiovisual material: PRS for Music (representing composers, songwriters and musicians etc), and PPL/VPL (public performance of recorded music and music videos). Then there are several more niche CMOs for other types of copyright material (eg newspapers and magazines). Broadcasters will normally negotiate bespoke licences with the relevant CMOs, the details of which are sometimes commerically sensitive, and at other times, publically available. In the UK, when a broadcaster and a CMO can't agree a rate between themselves, they can ask the Copyright Tribunal to adjudicate and set a fair rate based on (among other things) the consumption needs of the broadcaster. You can find some published licence fee rates on the Copyright Tribunal website, while some older decisions can be found on the National Archives website.

Something similar will occur between the broadcasters and CMOs in each of the other EU member states. Supra-national broadcasters such as Sky often have to conduct multilateral negotiations with CMO representatives in the territories in which their signal can be received.

Then there are specific fees for the right to transmit certain special events, such as football matches or the Olympics etc, which are usuually bid for auction style, although in the case of, say, the Eurovision Song Contest, different arrangements apply. The rights to broadcast feature films are usually handled individually between the studios and broadcasters, as are the rights to television programmes made by third party production companies or foreign broadcasters, TV formats (eg Big Brother or game shows like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire) are also subject to bilateral negotiations.

The result is a bewildering spider's web of agreements and fees, much of which will be commercially confidential and bespoke, making it difficult for an outsider to gain a full picture of the total amounts involved. For that reason, I can't give any links to sites dealing with the totality of the fees etc involved. But you could start with the UK Government's own webpage on the subject. or this guide (pdf) put out by the fitness industry trade body. There are a number of EU initiatives which aim to harmonise certain CMO activities, and regulate broadcasters, but they don't really address this specific area.

Re: Taxes for broadcasters in Europe

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:21 am
by EmaM
Thank you for your answer - it's been a great help to me!