Vibeke Petersen


Before the EC Directive on 'Television without Frontiers' was adopted on 3 October 1989. a great deal of statistics and forecasts about the sony state of the European television Industry had pointed to the necessity for action. There was - and Is - the fear that foreign. mainly American, programmes would Increasingly dominate European screens. resulting in a loss of European culture and the demise of our audiovisual industry. To mention a few of the factors behind this gloomy view: • American fiction films have over 40 per cent of the European market share. • American-controlled companies have 60 per cent of the film distribution market In Europe. • In 1988 Europe bought $700 million worth of television programmes. mainly fiction. from the US. and the number Is expected to rise. • About 90 per cent of audio-visual products made in Europe never leave their country of origin. • European television channels will require 16.000 hours of prime time fiction over the next five years. but are capable of producing only 2,500 hours (Wasko, 1990:2).