Must-Carry Regulation: A Must or a Burden?

IRIS-plus 2012-5

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2013-02

Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2013-01

20 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013

See all articles by Nico Van Eijk

Nico Van Eijk

University of Amsterdam

Bart van der Sloot

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: January 15, 2013

Abstract

The first must-carry rules date back to 1990, the time when space on analogue broadcasting networks was limited and when supply grew quickly due to the introduction of private broadcasters. To ensure that channels of general interest would still be transmitted, countries introduced rules to regulate the scarcely available cable capacity. The major reason for introducing these must-carry rules was to guarantee access to public service broadcasting and ensure a diverse choice of programmes. The option in the European regulatory framework of reserving distribution capacity for selected channels, is characterized by its technology-neutral formulation. A distinctive feature of these European rules is that must-carry obligations can only be imposed if the respective networks are the principal means of receiving radio and television channels for a significant number of end-users of these networks. In a market where users increasingly opt for using one provider for all their communication services, the question is justified if – apart from technical restrictions – must-carry obligations should be linked to a quantitative criterion. In this article, insight is provided into the choices made by various European countries with respect to regulating must-carry obligations and how the general European framework is applicable to national regulations. A brief comparison is made with the situation in the United States, some conclusions are drawn and thoughts are provided on the future of must-carry obligations in Europe.

Keywords: must carry, regulation, Europe, US, broadcasting, diversity, end-users

JEL Classification: K2, K21, K22, K23

Suggested Citation

Van Eijk, Nico and van der Sloot, Bart, Must-Carry Regulation: A Must or a Burden? (January 15, 2013). IRIS-plus 2012-5, Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2013-02, Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2013-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200796 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2200796

Nico Van Eijk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Bart Van der Sloot

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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