20 September 2010 – AER STATEMENT ON OPEN INTERNET AND NET NEUTRALITY IN EUROPE
The Association of European Radios (AER) is a Europe-wide trade body representing the interests of over 4,500 commercially-funded radio stations across the EU27 and in Switzerland.
AER is located at:
Association Européenne des Radios
76, av. d’Auderghem,
AER’s Interest Representative Register ID Number is 6822083232-32.
AER’s main objective is to develop and improve the most suitable framework for private commercial radio activity. AER constantly follows EU actions in the fields of media, telecommunications and private radio transmission, in order to contribute, to enrich and develop the radio sector.
On-air broadcasting radios reach massive audience on a daily basis in all EU Member States: between 60 and 85% of the EU population on average listens to radio for at least 2 or 3 hours per day, as shown by national audience measurement. Commercially-funded radios indeed constitute a unique network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), contributing to cultural diversity, media pluralism, access to creativity, social inclusion. They also offer free-to-air services of general interest:
– they evolve in highly competitive environments
– their programmes encompass, broadly speaking, all possible formats, from debates to music-only
– As for the music broadcast, within one market, as soon as there is demand expressed, it has to be fulfilled; so, most of the musical expressions are represented
– most of them are non-politically affiliated, and certainly keep the freedom to express their opinion or to participate to the public expression of the opinions of their listeners
– their audiences are local, regional, or national
– they strive to develop on all possible platforms
– during natural, major or minor disasters, radio is one of the first tool to inform the public
Radio is the most intimate medium, and has been so for the past 50 years at least: it is indeed ubiquitous, mobile, simple-to-use and free-to-air. All these features enable our audience to cultivate a personal relationship with our programmes, our DJs, our hosts, and our brands. Our listeners thereby access programming they enjoy, and useful information .
With changing consumption models, radios have to develop their presence on all possible platforms: in order to maintain audience, radios should be accessible on-air, online, via cable or satellite transmission in a linear and non-linear manner. While the transmission of radio programmes via the internet is increasing across Europe, most of the listening is still performed thanks to FM broadcasting. So, for radios, access to spectrum is vital, and access to internet has become paramount.
When it comes to online transmissions, the quality of services provided should be at least equal to broadcasting on-air: uninterrupted transmission of programmes . However, and as mentioned earlier, commercially-funded radios in Europe are, in their vast majority, SMEs: they are in no position to financially compete for access to the internet with other market players.
AER remains available to explain this position in further details, should this be helpful to the European Commission.
AER Secretary General
76, av. d’Auderghem,
Tel: +32 2 736 9131
Fax: +32 2 732 8990
vincent.sneed @ aereurope.org