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11 December 20204 minute read

Amendments to the Television and On-Demand Audiovisual Services Law and to the Cinema Law

Law 74/2020, of 18 November, amending the Television and Audiovisual Services on Demand Law (Law 27/2007, of 30 July) and the Cinema Law (Law 55/2012 of 6 September) and transposing the latest amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, dated of 2018, was published today. This law will come into force, in general, on 17 February 2021. The following amendments are highlighted:

The video-sharing platform services are regulated in Portugal for the first time. To the extent that these services are provided under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese State, certain rules shall apply such as: obligations related to audiovisual commercial communications (product placement, sponsorship, telesales, etc.); restrictions on the content of programs, videos and audiovisual commercial communications; and obligations to provide certain features, such as, for example, parental control systems.

Consumer protection was reinforced through measures such as: imposition to the service providers of obligations on program integrity (by prohibiting the concealment and alteration of audiovisual communications) and on accessibility for people with special needs; attribution to the consumer of the right to terminate the contract in the event of certain changes in the contracted conditions regarding the composition or price of the offer of television program services and audiovisual services on demand; and imposition to the service providers of rules to protect children and young people, including the protection of their personal data and the protection of the development of their personality, through measures to reduce their exposure to advertising on tobacco, alcoholic beverages, other stimulating substances and “harmful” foods, the shortening of the time in which the broadcast of programs with the so-called “red dot” are allowed (which can only be broadcast from 12am until 6am), and the extension of the obligations of the on-demand audiovisual services.

Registration of operators and contribution to the financing of cinema and cinematographic and audiovisual arts: operators of on-demand audiovisual services and providers of video-sharing platforms under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese State are now subject to the obligation to register with the Regulatory Entity for Social Communication (ERC), similarly to what already happened with the television and distribution operators and corresponding television program services. Television operators and on-demand audiovisual service operators targeting audiences located in Portugal, but under the jurisdiction of another Member State, must appoint a representative to ERC. All these operators, including platform providers that are under the jurisdiction of another Member State but target audiences in Portugal, are subject to investment obligations and contributions to the financing of cinema and cinematographic and audiovisual arts. The law also provides the incentive to the dissemination of European works, in particular works of independent production, originally in Portuguese language and produced less than five years ago.

Finally, regarding the financing of the Cinema and Audiovisual Institute (ICA), the costs related to the operation of ICA are now covered by allocations to be transferred from the State Budget to ICA.
Programs and measures to support the cinema and audiovisual sector continue to be financed by the annual transfer of funds on behalf of ANACOM and by the collection of fees. There are changes in the calculation of the fees due by on-demand audiovisual service operators on subscription and an extension of the payers of the exhibition fee, which now covers the video-sharing platform services under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese State. Support for cinema and the audiovisual sector is reinforced by investment obligations, being the amounts to be invested in accordance to the relevant income of the operators. The obligations of payment of fees and investment are generally extended to television operators, on-demand audiovisual services, and providers of video-sharing platforms, under the jurisdiction of another Member State, in relation to the profits realized in the Portuguese market.