The regulatory landscape continues to change - and we all need to pay attention

A trio of new EU laws signify broader global regulatory trends, writes Stuart Wilkinson - and notably audience measurement is in scope for the first time
24 May 2024
The regulatory landscape continues to change
Stuart Wilkinson

Senior Business Development Director

The European Commission recently presented its strategic vision for improving the regulation of tech by integrating privacy, transparency, and equity into online media ecosystems through increasing robust regulation. In a speech delivered in early April by Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, we witnessed progress on an approach seen as crucial for sustaining consumer trust and promoting a healthy competitive environment in an increasingly connected age.

The impact the new European laws could eventually have in other regions may be analogous to how from the seeds of 2018’s GDPR came California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil where we saw the principles of the European regulations gradually and generally adapted into daily business operations around the world.

This time three new regulations have already come into or are coming into force in the EU that require attention. These are the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA), both approved in 2022 and in full force since February and March 2024, and the new European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) approved in March this year and coming into force in August 2025. For the first time, thanks to the EMFA, audience measurement is specifically included within the regulatory scope.

Though born in the EU, this trio of regulations reflects a broader trend towards regulatory alignment, particularly as the EU and the US engage in dialogue aiming to synchronise regulation around the internet and the impact that technology enablement can have on market dynamics and society at large.

The implementation of the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil, in force since September 2020, akin to the GDPR in Europe and the CCPA in California, underscores a global shift towards protecting user’s data privacy and security. Just as businesses adjusted their practices to comply with GDPR and CCPA, organisations in Brazil are navigating the intricacies of LGPD, integrating its principles into their daily operations. As part of this global trend, the LGPD aims to protect the rights of individuals while fostering responsible data management practices among companies.

What do the new regulations cover?

The Digital Services Act concentrates on online content, advocates for increased transparency in content moderation and bolsters efforts to eliminate illegal and unsafe content. It also brings obligations relating to online marketplaces and the identification of, and control over, online advertising.

The latest law, the European Media Freedom Act, was adopted in March 2024. It will be enforced in August 2025. It is designed to protect media pluralism and independence within the EU. It focuses on preventing political interference in editorial decisions, ensuring the transparency of media ownership, and providing stable funding for public service media. The EMFA also introduces measures to safeguard editors' independence and manage media concentrations. Additionally, it establishes an independent European Board for Media Services to oversee compliance and encourages the establishment of clear mechanisms to provide guarantees for editorial independence. Each European member State will appoint a national media regulator to oversee the implementation of the law in their country, but they will also coordinate between themselves to ensure region-wide progress and compliance with the assistance of the European Board, in a similar way to how the European Data Protection Board provides the coordination role between the national Data Protection Authorities for GDPR.

Taken together, all three regulations will have a distinct impact on the industry. 


For advertisers, the regulations emphasise the need for increased transparency. There will be clearer insights into how platforms gather and utilise user data for advertising, it gives clarity on ownership and access rights, it limits the rights of platforms to autonomously use the data collected for their own means, it adds transparency into the financial share of ads paid to the platforms themselves, to intermediaries and ultimately to the publisher where the ad was shown. New rights, new modes of data access and rights to access richer insights may lead to a revamp of advertising strategies and budget distributions.

Moreover, the DSA imposes restrictions on targeting based on sensitive user data, potentially limiting advertisers' ability to engage with specific audiences and prompting the need for more innovative segmentation strategies. Targeting minors based on sensitive data is now strictly prohibited.

Media owners 

For media owners, the new rules also bring several changes. For example, EMFA aims to ensure stable funding for public service media, presenting new opportunities for growth within this sector.

Audience measurement 

Audience Measurement now has a formal definition under law and an entire “article” under the law.

The system of self-regulated industry measurement is recognised as having set the ideal standard for transparency by the EU. The legislators generally view those platforms whose data is produced via their own systems as lacking such transparency.

In a move for greater access to data for business users of platforms, if a ‘media service provider’ uses a platform that uses proprietary audience measurement to distribute its content - such as a TV broadcaster using a self-measured video sharing platform - it now has a right to access the methodology and the non-aggregated data about their performance on that platform.  

The changes the EMFA can bring will impact the broader audience measurement ecosystem beyond the primary function of “ratings” since regulatory authorities recognise that transparent measurement addresses other issues that the law targets. Consider how audience measurement helps evaluate potential market concentrations, for example. 

Consequently, industry is being strongly encouraged to establish codes of conduct for audience measurement at national level. Newly created National Regulatory Authorities will facilitate the codes’ development, and will promote dialogue cross-border so that a path to better harmonisation and efficiency can be sought. There will be a central European Board for Media Services overseeing the implementation and compliance across the EU. 

The Audience Measurement Coalition 

While these regulations have been in development, The Audience Measurement Coalition (AMC) has been working to promote a balanced negotiation of the new EU laws and if appropriate has also worked to influence key amendments. The AMC is a collaborative industry group where JICs and research suppliers such as Mediametrie, Kantar Media, Nielsen, and others, work together to provide a specialised viewpoint on legislation affecting audience measurement. Liaison with several EU-focused media and advertising industry associations is also part of the process. 

Recently, the AMC initiated a task force to transform the group into a formal association to better navigate the legislative impacts and to support industry adaptation post-legislation.  

The EMFA, passed in March 2024 and will come into full force in August 2025. This means many sides of the industry will need to consider how to coordinate during the preparation phase and beyond, especially on the Codes of Conduct.  

This should be seen as a multi-year journey that is intended and can be transformative. Though the EMFA may seem quite remote or even rather abstract today, consider how GDPR was enforced only six years ago. At the time it came into effect it created many business challenges and uncertainties. But today it is part of every organisation's operational DNA and in general the principles have gone global.  

For us in the Media sector the same process is now underway for this new set of regulations. It is clearly early days, but businesses must familiarise themselves with the changes ahead and start understanding how they may be impacted. They should also feel free to engage with the AMC as it bolsters its own support for the industry. 

If you want to learn more about how your business can start preparing for the changes coming ahead, contact Stuart Wilkinson

Further reading can be found here.