On July 18 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union hold that the Italian rule on television advertising, which lays down lower hourly limits for advertising for pay-TV broadcasters, such as Ski Italia, than for free-to-air TV broadcaster, is principle, compatible with European Union.
The Court noted, first of all, the Audiovisual Media Service Directive (Directive 2010/12/EU) does non completely harmonized the area to which it applies, but it lays down minimun requirements.
Consequently, Member Stares have the option to lay down more detailed or strict rules, and in certain cases, different conditions, provided they comply with European Union Law.
In addition, the Court pointed out that the principles and objectives of the rules on television advertising limits are intended to established balance protection, of the one hand, of financial interests of television broadcasters and advertisers and, on the other and, of the interests of writers and procedures, in addition to consumers and television viewers.
The balance varies according to whether or not television broadcasters transmit their programmes for payment.
Therefore, in seeking a balanced protection of the financial interests of broadcasters and of viewers, the national legislative may set different hourly broadcasting limits for advertising on pay-TV and on free-to-air TV.
In that regard, the Court stated the protection of consumers against abuses of advertising nevertheless constitutes on overriding reason relating to the general interest, which may justify restrictions on the freedom to provide services, provided that those restrictions such as to ensure achievement of the aim pursued and do not go beyond which is necessary for that purpose.