LEADING THE AUDIO REVOLUTION: AER PRIORITIES 2024- 2027
The Association of European Radios (AER) is the Europe-wide trade body for commercial radio, representing the interests of companies operating over 5,000 commercial radio stations to the EU Institutions. AER promotes the development of commercially-funded radio broadcasting in Europe, by ensuring a fair and sustainable economic framework for radio so it can continue to thrive.
Commercial radio is funded almost entirely by advertising, but it provides significant social and public value. It is the most trusted medium by European citizens and reaches large audience for long periods of time with a mix of music, news, entertainment and talk. Radio content is a well-edited and well-produced mixture of audio, which is free-to-air and free-to-access, transmitted via wired or wireless means – mainly broadcast, but also cable, satellite or online.
Radio is also part of a much wider audio market. Growing music streaming services, podcasts and online audio platform are transforming the industry and mean that listeners have more options than ever before. High-speed internet access and the growth of connected devices – from smartphones to smart speakers – mean that audiences can listen to almost anything at any time. These changes bring exciting opportunities but also challenges, with radio embracing its role at the heart of this audio revolution.
MEDIA FREEDOM, MEDIA PLURALISM AND INDEPENDENCE
SUPPORT A STRONG, INDEPENDENT AND HIGH-QUALITY CHOICE OF MEDIA
Commercial radio provides significant social and public value. Radio reaches large audiences for long periods of time with a mix of music, news, entertainment and talk; an input that is highly valued by audiences with radio found to be the most trusted medium in Europe. Given its influential role toward public opinion, radio is tightly regulated at national level thanks to a framework implemented by State-independent regulators.
Commercial radio’s independence is crucial and must be supported. It should not be undermined by large public service broadcasters or especially tech giants that are becoming increasingly dominant in advertising and content distribution.
SECURE FUTURE ACCESS, DISCOVERABILITY AND FINDABILITY OF RADIO ON ANY DEVICES AND USER INTERFACES
Radio is everywhere, mobile, simple-to-use, interactive and free-to-air. Guaranteeing multi-standard solutions for radio and allowing listeners to access radio programmes via all possible devices is the way forward. Commercial radio is mainly listened to on broadcast platforms, but also cable, satellite or online. Its reception through FM or DAB/DAB+, complemented by IP, represents great opportunities for listeners to easily access radio services. New devices like smart speakers and in-car-infotainment systems are also being widely used to access radio and audio. This raises serious issues regarding fair access and the role of tech companies as ‘gatekeepers’ to radio and audio content.
Broadcast platforms remain vital. Current frequency bands provide legal and economic certainty to commercial radios and must be secured. With the shift from analogue to digital, radio’s access, discoverability and findability should be ensured to all listeners, through innovative solutions such as 5G for broadcasting.
ENSURE A LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD WITH TECH PLATFORMS AND FAIR COMPETITION WITH PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTERS
Radio remains the biggest part of audio listening overall but faces particular pressure from tech giants and aggregators which have become increasingly powerful.
A legislative framework, going beyond transparency requirements, is paramount to creating a balanced framework for audio businesses in the European market. Strong actions from the EU Legislators are needed to create a more level playing field and challenge the current liability exemption benefiting to non-media platforms that equally influence millions of Europeans daily.
SUPPORT AN EFFICIENT, AFFORDABLE AND FAIR COPYRIGHT REGIME FOR RADIO
Commercial radio supports the creativity of artists and rightsowners through the diligent payment of rights thanks to efficient systems in place at national level.
As a broadcaster, radio creates content and is also a rightsholder of related right. An efficient and affordable rights clearance to use copyright material both on-air and online is paramount to radio’s future. Transparent and accountable collective licensing is generally the best way to achieving this outcome, while also ensuring that creators are rewarded fairly. In addition, radio’s related rights when its content is being accessed on a digital environment should be properly enforced to ensure its investment in original and European content is fairly compensated.
PREVENT UNNECESSARY ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS AND STRICT TRANSPARENCY OBLIGATIONS
Commercial radio is funded almost entirely by advertising, enabling it to remain free-to-air and free-to-access to millions of listeners. It relies on its advertising business model to be present on every platform, including online, enabling it to create content and innovate.
Unnecessary restrictions on advertising should be avoided, as studies show long terms and conditions in radio and audio do not benefit consumers and fail to provide protection. Advertising limitations offline and online also severely impact radio’s opportunities to remain a valuable European content provider by cutting off revenue.
PROMOTE INNOVATION AND THE VALUE OF EUROPE’S CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
Commercial radio is at the heart of the European cultural and creative eco-system; it is difficult to imagine life without radio as it would certainly lose part of its colour and emotion. EU funding provides great opportunities for incentivising and promoting innovation and EU partnerships. Initiatives from the European media industry require promoting from the EU; they allow for creative, innovative and trusted alternatives against some of the current models.
Equally, commercial radio remains of great importance for the promotion of artists. Introducing content restriction or quotas hinders their economic viability, especially in an era of online platforms.
For more information, please contact the AER office in Brussels at aer(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)aereurope.org