The heads of 10 of Europe's top media companies have agreed to back plans for a new generation of media and communications technologies, the European Commission said July 11.


BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The heads of 10 of Europe's top media companies have agreed to back plans for a new generation of media and communications technologies, the European Commission said July 11.

At a meeting in London on July 9, the television, music, Internet and telecom heads put their weight behind European Commission proposals for a more flexible legal framework for audiovisual services.

But in their joint statement, they said the most effective way to promote media content markets was through rigorous copyright protection, licensing arrangements and the legitimate use of content.

The meeting included BBC director general Mark Thompson, Vivendi Universal chairman of the management board and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy, BT Group CEO Ben Verwaayen, EMI Music chairman/CEO Alain Levy, British industry minister Alun Michael and EU media and IT commissioner Viviane Reding.

They agreed to work together on a European Charter for online content and intellectual property rights by next May. There was also support for investments in new broadband networks -- both fixed and mobile -- and advanced applications and content-rich services.

The EC -- the European Union's executive body -- launched its so-called i2010 initiative last month to promote media and IT services in Europe by promoting high-speed broadband networks, with rich media content.

Reding said the next commission initiative, in September, would be a proposal to simplify rules on providing audiovisual content services in Europe.