Telecommunications Council: Draft compromise for HDTV debated The debate in the Telecommunications Council on 10 May1993 was largely based on the new draft compromise presented by the Danish Presidency (Mr. Arne Melchior, the Danish Minister of Communications). This new compromise, which proposes a three and a half year action plan (unti... The debate in the Telecommunications Council on 10 May1993 was largely based on the new draft compromise presented by the Danish Presidency (Mr. Arne Melchior, the Danish Minister of Communications). This new compromise, which proposes a three and a half year action plan (until end 1996) structure, establishes the Community budget at ECU 200 million plus a reserve budget of ECU 85 million destined to those markets not in service at the time the action plan is initiated. It is also estimated that ECU 21 million could also come from other sources for these late comers on the market. (The figure announced in December 1992 was ECU 500 million, while the Commission had proposed ECU 850 million.) The action plan aims to promote wide-screen, 16/9 format, regardless of the standard or method of transmission used. Community financial intervention will be limited to 50% of the total cost and provided only if broadcasters and programme producers can show that contractual engagements already concluded will furnish the remaining 50%. (The reserve budget of ECU 85 million could be used to cover 80% of costs of the concerned operators.) Allocations will be determined based on the number of hours produced and transmitted in 16/9, with a rate per hour to be fixed according to the production costs and quality of the programme. In a "first-come, first-served" context, preference will nevertheless be given to European producers and broadcasters and, more particularly, to new productions specifically developed for HDTV. Only operators providing at least 50 programme-hours per year in the 16/9 format will be eligible for Community aid. Eleven delegations have marked their acceptance of the general structure of the action plan while the UK expressed its inability to accept certain points, particularly concerning the allocations for the action plan. The Commission announced that it would continue studying the questions of digital television and the possible revision of Directive 92/38/CEE relating to the adoption of D2-MAC and HD-MAC norms.