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Council: Advanced television services

The Council and the Ministers for Telecommunications meeting within the Council on 16 June 1993 (1673rd session) reached agreement on two Commission proposals bearing on advanced television services. These are:

- A Commission proposal for a Council Resolution on the developme...
The Council and the Ministers for Telecommunications meeting within the Council on 16 June 1993 (1673rd session) reached agreement on two Commission proposals bearing on advanced television services. These are:

- A Commission proposal for a Council Resolution on the development of technology and standards in the advanced television services sector (COM(92) 154 of 5.5.1992). As the Council agrees on the text of the Resolution, it is to be adopted without further debate at a future meeting of the Council during July 1993.

- A Commission proposal for a Council Decision establishing an Action Plan for the introduction of advanced television services in Europe. The modified text of the Plan of Action (which includes changes to the budgetary allocation) is to be adopted by the Council before the end of July 1993.

The Action Plan is solely directed at promoting the 16:9 format (625 or 1,250 lines) irrespective of the European Television standard used, and irrespective of the broadcasting mode (terrestrial, satellite or cable). Community funds shall cover only part of the difference in costs between producing/broadcasting in the customary 4:3 format and in the 16:9 format (the Community funds shall in general cover up to 50% of the extra costs). The remaining costs are to be provided from other sources. The Council attaches great importance to the involvement of the economic operators in the financing.

30% of Community funding will be reserved for markets not served in the early stages of the implementation of the Action Plan. These funds could cover up to 80% of the extra costs, while the remaining 20% is to be provided from other sources.

The Action Plan should be as simple as possible and based on transparent, fair and unbureaucratic mechanisms.

Funds shall be allocated to broadcasters or producers based in the Community on the basis of hours produced and transmitted in the 16:9 format, with a fixed maximum financial support per hour. The support will depend on the actual costs of the type of programme and its technical quality, with special emphasis on programmes produced in Europe. New productions will thus receive the highest level of support. Only broadcasters transmitting more than 50 hours per year of 16:9 services will receive funding.

The support is allocated on a yearly "first-come-first-served" basis with preference for projects where the matching funds stem from the economic operators.

Community funding for the Action Plan (which will cover a period of 4 years expiring on 30 June 1997) is fixed at ECU 160 million with an additional ECU 68 million to be held in reserve until January 1995 for markets not served in early stages of the implementation of the plan.

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