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Online Content Market

Public Consultation on Content Online in the Single Market

A public consultation on ways to stimulate the growth of a true EU single market for online digital content, such as films, music and games, was launched by the European Commission.

The Commission intends to encourage the development of innovative business models and to promote the cross-border delivery of diverse online content services. It is also keen to ascertain how European technologies and devices can be successful in the creative online content markets. Input to this consultation will help shape a Commission Communication on Content Online, due to be adopted at the end of the year.

The public consultation intends to pave the way for a true European single market for online content delivery. Online content can play a crucial role for the growth of Europe‘s sector for information and communication technologies (ICT) and media.
The Commission launches its consultation on content online against the background of the rapid convergence of audiovisual media, broadband networks and electronic devices. The availability and take-up of high-speed "broadband" connections is making it easier for consumers not only to access a wider range of creative digital content than would have been imaginable ten years ago, but also to create content themselves. At the same time, broadband ' s ability to handlevast quantities of data enables European companies to offer new content and services and to create additional markets.

The creation of an open and competitive single market for online content is one of the key aims of the EUs i2010 initiative  a European Information Society for growth and jobs, started by the Commission on 1 June 2005 (see IP/05/643). In July2005, industry leaders from the ICT and media sector had agreed to work with the Commission on an Agenda for Unlocking Europes Digital Economy, in which the promotion of media content markets through effective rights protection,licensing arrangements and encouraging legitimate use of content was given priority (see IP/05/900). A first concrete example of how challenges for Europes online content industry can be tackled is the European Charter for the Development and the Take-up of Film Online, initiated in May 2005 by Commissioner Reding and endorsed by film makers and business leaders on 23 May 2006, at the Europe Day of the 59th Cannes Film Festival (see IP/06/672).

The deadline for replies to the consultation questionnaire is 13 October 2006.