TV Quotas - unintended regulatory consequences Brands, Media and Money In the mid 90’s there was considerable pressure across Europe for revisions to the original 1987 “Television without Frontiers” directive. In particular there was strong pressure from some European producers to limit the amount of non-EU (essentially US) programming that could be shown on EU channels. It was reasoned that this would stimulate local EU TV production - and thus drive jobs and economic growth. We assembled a large dataset of EU programme schedules, costs and ratings and managed to show that there was a natural evolution in new TV channels. At first they would use US programming that was cheap relative to its original production cost and which could garner a small but commercially viable audience. As they grew, however, an audience optimising channel would be naturally incentivised - and could now afford -  to increase its proportion of locally produced programming. The proposed quotas would have created a barrier to new entry into the TV market - and thus reduced the growth of multichannel TV and the delivery platforms (satellite and cable) it underpinned. The eventual effect would have been to inhibit EU audio-visual economic growth and employment - ironically quite the opposite effect to the one intended by the quota proponents. An excellent example of the “law” of unintended consequences.  : TV without frontiers TV quota impact <<<< Back to menu