29 February 2008
Responding to the European Commission’s Communication on Creative Content Online, the European Publishers Council (EPC) has broadly welcomed the document as “timely, clear and insightful” whilst using this opportunity to put a strong case for copyright, zero-rated VAT,acknowledgement of the importance of advertising, and protection against unfair competition from publicly funded services.
The Communication’s objective is “to launch further actions to support the development of innovative business models and the deployment of cross-border delivery of diverse online creative services.”
The EPC, representing the interests of chairmen and chief executives of Europe’s leading media corporations, is keen to see continued support for traditional publishing which is still, and is set to be for some time, the biggest market in terms of revenues from digital distribution and exploitation of content. It sees one of its greatest threats as unfair competition from publicly funded services. In its paper, the EPC says: “The overriding challenge for the Commission is to ensure that, whilst it encourages new players, it does nothing to hinder, or worse, destroy the ability of established players to develop the market for new services.That is the only way that the Commission can fully realise its i2010 agenda for the benefit of citizens and consumers.”
EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said: “We are delighted to see that the Commission has taken on board many of our concerns. We are especially pleased that the Commission has shown its support for the ACAP initiative  that is cited in the document as “a commendable practice” and which aims to allow content owners to manage their own digital content. ACAP has been driven by the EPC, the World Association of Newspapers and the International Publishers Association and is a first class example of how technology can be used as an enabler.
“However, we are still banging on the “VAT” door and not getting the response we want. One of the most important drivers for digital distribution in the publishing industry is allowing Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate or online publishing services. There should be no tax on reading or on access to content.”
On advertising, the EPC says that it is vital that the Commission continues to appreciate the crucial importance of advertising in the digital content revolution.
Angela Mills Wade said: “Commissioner Reding has been a stalwart supporter of the freedom to advertise so we are counting on her continued support to ensure that any initiatives taken as a follow-up to this Communication take full account of the importance of advertising in supporting and funding online publishing in the absence of traditional revenues.
We are looking forward to participating in the “Content Online Platform” proposed in the Communication, and in further consultation in advance of any Recommendation being published by the Council.”
 ACAP is non-proprietary global permissions tool to facilitate the relationship between content owners and search engines.ACAP will allow any publisher, large or small, or indeed individual authors, to express machine-readable, automated access and use policies in a language that search engines’ robot "spiders" can be taught to understand. ACAP will unlock new content and help stimulate new online business models and new, mutually-beneficial relationships with search engines. www.the-acap.org.
Note to editors:
The European Publishers Council (EPC) is a high level group of 29 Chairmen and Chief Executives of Europe’s leading media corporations whose interests span newspapers, magazines, periodicals, books and journals,online database and internet publishing and, in many cases our members have significant interests in private commercial television and radio.
Members of the European Publishers Council
Chairman: Mr Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman and CEO, Impresa,Portugal
Mr Kjell Aamot, CEO, Schibsted, Norway
Ms Sly Bailey, Chief Executive, Trinity Mirror plc, UK
Sir David Bell, Chairman, Financial Times Group, UK
Mr. Jose-Maria Bergareche, CEO, Vocento, Spain
Tbc CEO RCS Quotidiani S.p.A Italy
Mr Carl-Johan Bonnier, Chairman, The Bonnier Group, Sweden
Mr Oscar Bronner, Publisher & Editor in Chief, Der Standard, Austria
Dr Hubert Burda, Chairman and CEO, Burda Media, Germany
Dr Carlo Caracciolo, President, Editoriale L’Espresso, Italy
Mr Juan Luis Cebrian, CEO, Groupo Prisa, Spain
Sir Crispin Davis, Chief Executive, Reed Elsevier,
Dr Matthias Döpfner, Chief Executive, Axel Springer AG, Germany
Mr Tom Glocer, Chief Executive, Reuters plc
Mr Leslie Hinton, Executive Chairman, News International, UK
Dr Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH
Mr Steffen Kragh, President and CEO, The Egmont Group, Denmark
Dr Bernd Kundrun, Chief Executive, Gruner + Jahr, Germany
Mr Christos Lambrakis, Chairman & Editor in Chief, Lambrakis Publishing Group, Greece
Mr Murdoch MacLennan, Chief Executive, Telegraph Group Ltd, UK
Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Independent Newspapers PLC, Ireland
Mr Didier Quillot, Chairman and CEO, Lagardère Active Media, France
Ms Wanda Rapaczynski, CEO, Agora, Poland
Mr Michael Ringier, President, Ringier, Switzerland
The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Rothermere, Chairman, Daily Mail and General Trust, UK
Mr A.J. Swartjes, CEO, De Telegraaf, Netherlands
Mr Hannu Syrjanen, CEO, SanomaWSOY Corporation, Finland
Mr Christian van Thillo, Chief Executive, De Persgroep, Belgium
Executive Director: Angela Mills Wade
Press Relations: Heidi Lambert