An extract from The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review, 12th Edition


i Regulation of media distribution generally

Media distribution is currently mainly regulated by the TMG and the MStV. The MStV contains content-related regulations for distribution. In particular, the MStV regulates public broadcasting, private broadcasting and certain types of telemedia services that convey or serve to distribute media content. For the first time, the MStV contains comprehensive regulations on these latter telemedia, also known as gatekeepers.81 This refers to various 'new' services such as search engines, smart TVs and social media. Here, plurality of opinion is to be ensured through the obligation to maintain journalistic standards.

Various aspects of regular distribution are regulated, such as product placement. According to the MStV, product placement is generally prohibited and may only be carried out with a clear indication and without significant influence on the editorial responsibility and independence of the content.82

ii Internet-delivered video content

For the distribution of video content, Sections 10a et seq. TMG now regulate a procedure for reporting user complaints. However, internet-delivered video content is mainly regulated in the MStV. In contrast to the RStV, this is now more strictly regulated in the MStV at the level of content distributors and slightly less regulated at the level of content creators. Content distributors are regulated in the MStV if they are a media platform, user interface or media intermediary. Classification can be difficult in individual cases because a functional consideration is made that is independent of the technology used. Media platform providers are required to operate their platforms in a non-discriminatory manner and must comply with transparency obligations. Similar obligations apply to providers of user interfaces. Media intermediaries must appoint an authorised agent for service. In addition, they must also comply with transparency obligations and must not discriminate. Insofar as one of these providers also offers a video sharing service it must comply with the additional obligations set out in the MStV (e.g., advertising).