A general introduction to Media and Entertainment Law in Spain

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In recent years, technological innovations have brought about significant changes in the media and audiovisual market. It is clear that the proliferation of high-speed Internet, broadband cellular networks, and smart phones has led to significant changes in consumer habits and how audiovisual content is created and distributed. This change has led to the emergence of new players, stakeholders, content types and channels in the market. This is especially evident among younger generations, who are replacing traditional audiovisual platforms and content with new audiovisual media services such as live streaming audiovisual platforms, user-generated content and video sharing platforms, among others.

In this context, On March 24, 2021, the Spanish government presented its plan to develop the audiovisual sector, Spain: The Audiovisual Hub of Europe, which aims to strengthen Spain as a major audiovisual production center, attract foreign investment, and facilitate the establishment of domestic companies. Increasing the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector and ultimately the Spanish digital market (for example by improving the current financial regulations and tax instruments). In particular, among the various measures initiated to achieve these goals, the plan proposes some regulatory reforms and the removal of administrative barriers. One of the first steps already taken in this regard was the Law No. 13/2022 on General Audiovisual Communication issued on July 7, 2022, and thus the EU Directive 2018/1808 (Directive on Audiovisual Media Services) was passed in 2018. Spain and our internal control framework has been updated to meet new needs and face the new challenges of the sector.

This new regulation is intended to (1) promote European audiovisual works; (2) promote linguistic diversity, promote all Spanish languages, (3) promote equality and representation and participation of women in the audiovisual sector. (4) strengthen the protection of minors (for example, imposing the obligation to verify the age of users on video-sharing platforms); (5) Regulates the activities of influencers considered as audiovisual communication service providers. (6) relax restrictions on advertising; and (7) strengthen the financial system of Spain’s national public channel RTVE.

In addition, it should be noted that a new General Telecommunications Law (Law 11/2022, dated 18 June 2022) entered into force on 30 June 2022, with the main goal of aligning with the European Electronic Communications Code. Its main objectives are to provide operators with improved legal security and flexibility, strengthen the protection of user rights, and empower the Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT) with several key reforms: (1) Create a more favorable investment framework for deploying cutting-edge services to meet citizens’ needs Networks, (2) introduces a competitive bidding process in terms of appointing an operator responsible for global service provision, which was previously only possible when multiple parties expressed interest following a consultation process. (3) stipulates the right of general users to receive information about service features, terms of supply and quality of service, including pricing and supply limits; and (4) mandate greater transparency regarding computer files or ‘cookies’ stored on computers and other devices.

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