The Swedish Broadcasting Commission (SBC) has decided that the video sections on four newspaper websites were to be considered as audiovisual media services under the Swedish Radio and Television Act. The decision, which was announced in 29 October 2012, concerned the websites of four daily newspapers: Helsingborgs Dagblad, Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter and Norran.
The Swedish Broadcasting Authority had asked the SBC to determine if the video sections of these newspapers were to be qualified as on-demand TV under the Act, which incorporates the provisions of the EC Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS).
The SBC determined that the video content sections constituted distinctly separate services in comparison to the other content on those newspapers´ websites. The key criteria that helped in the determination were that:
- the programmes were made available to the general public
- the programmes could be accessed in such a way where the users could choose themselves when to watch (e.g., on-demand)
- the programmes were organised in a ´catalog´ with distinct sections such as ¨Sports¨ and ¨News¨.
In view of these findings, the SBC determined that the video sections on these newspaper websites qualified as ¨on-demand TV¨ and were covered by the Swedish Radio and Television Act. As part of the decision, SBC also found that the web TV service of Aftonbladet had an advertisement that was not properly signaled to consumers (by optical and acoustic means) as is required by the Swedish Radio and Television Act.
These rulings mark an interesting point of departure since the UK Sun Video – Ofcom Appeal Decision which was published at the end of 2011