EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding's planned telecoms reforms were rebuffed Thursday by EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Reding, who hoped to create a new, Pan-European regulatory authority, argues that lax oversight has allowed markets to slacken, leaving telecoms little incentive to develop new services like video-on-demand and mobile TV. But almost all the 27 telecoms ministers rejected her plan as overly bureaucratic. Reding indicated, however, that she would support a compromise that beefs up existing regulations.
French-based, U.S.-owned film and TV Web operator AlloCine Group is pushing ahead with ambitious expansion plans across mainland Europe, planning locally tailored launches of its of its site, Allocine.fr, in major European territories, with Spain up next. Dubbed SensaCine, the Spanish site goed live next week. The company also is planning a localized German version by the end of the year and Italy will follow in 2009.
The Italian government indicated Thursday that it is studying a plan that would eliminate or "significantly reduce" the so-called "canone" — the TV license fee that helps support state broadcaster RAI. The move is part of a wider effort to reduce the tax burden on Italians. Under the current rules, families pay €99 ($154) per year for their first TV set and a reduced fee for subsequent sets. The change would deprive RAI of a major source of revenue.