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Assessment of advanced television services in Europe

The European Commission has recently presented a final annual report on progress made with the implementation of the action plan for the introduction of advanced television services in Europe. The action plan was approved in July 1993 with the objective of ensuring the acceler...
The European Commission has recently presented a final annual report on progress made with the implementation of the action plan for the introduction of advanced television services in Europe. The action plan was approved in July 1993 with the objective of ensuring the accelerated development of the market for advanced television services in Europe using the 16:9 screen format.

The report covers a two-year period (1996-97) and focuses on the activities carried out and the results to date in achieving the objectives of the action plan. It is the first report summarising the activities of the previous four years and will be followed with conclusions on the action plan in December 1998 and an evaluation report in 1999. This will assess the impact of the action plan on the market and the sectors concerned.

The first section of the report deals with broadcasting issues, describing the management of the action plan and assessing the market impact of digital television services as well as the future prospects. This deals in particular with the second phase of digital television, the digital versatile disk (DVD), World Cup football in 16:9 television format, international comparisons and the winding up of the action plan.

The second part is devoted to programme production, and introduces the action plan in the context of Community audiovisual policy and the wider audiovisual sector. The overall results are expressed in terms of both hours and ecu, and the outputs of the action plan are detailed in terms of new productions and digital remastering. The conclusions are delivered under the following five headings:

- Expanding the audiovisual catalogues;
- A partnership for a dynamic 16:9 market;
- The programmes industry invests in the future at European level;
- International competition and innovation;
- Integration of new technologies into the European audiovisual industry.

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