IATE Term of the Week: Video on Demand (VOD)


Up until now, regulations regarding video on demand content have not been subject to the same rules nor level of consumer protection as are applied to TV broadcasting. This is despite the fact that in recent years many viewers are increasingly accessing on-demand content via smaller screens such as on their laptops, tablets or phones, as opposed to having traditionally watched such programmes on a TV screen.

In order to address the growing gap between regulation in force and the rise of video on demand services, the European Commission put forward on 25 May 2016 legislation to ensure more stringent rules are in place for VOD platforms and providers. These include stricter rules on advertising and product placement in children’s programmes, proscribing content against hatred and violence, as well as providing a higher investment to the development of European audiovisual productions. Furthermore, MEPs have advised that 30% of all such content should be European. This also includes VOD service provider’s catalogues.

From an economic perspective, the latter point is becoming increasingly pertinent: a report in 2015 conducted by European Audiovisual Observatory and later released at Cannes Film Festival of the same year stated that video on demand is helping to further promote the distribution of films in cinemas. In fact, in a global survey in 2015, more than eighty percent of respondents stated that they used video on demand to watch movies, making it by far the most popular type of content across  generations as well as regions globally.

A vote to endorse the new rules took place in the plenary session for 2 October 2018.



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  • Kammerevert, P. 2018. Review of the audiovisual media framework. European Parliament. [online: here], retrieved on 03/09/2018.
  • Cabrera, F., Cappello,. et al. 2016. Télévision, cinéma, vidéo et services audiovisuels à la demande – le paysage paneuropéen. Observatoire européen de l’audiovisuel (Conseil de l’Europe), [online: here], retrieved on 03/10/2018.
  • (2016) On-demand demographics : VOD viewing across generations. Nielsen. [online: here], retrieved on 03/10/2018.


Written by Mairead Finlay – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She has studied Translation at the University of Geneva and holds a BA in Politics and French from the University of Bristol.