Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have to provide more European content to European viewers, the European commission has voted. However, some nations within the EU could also opt to increase the minimum to 40%. making the rules stricter for these American companies.
Many European countries already have quotas for movie theaters and TV networks so quotas for streaming content is seen as the next natural step. The argument the European Commission puts forward is having a minimum amount of local content fosters cultural diversity and ensure that movies with smaller budgets – as well as local talent – get a chance to compete with blockbuster franchises such as the Marvel Comic movies or the next Tom Cruise offering.
Some European countries also set a tax on ticket sales of American blockbuster films to finance local movie production. With today’s new European agreement, streaming platforms will also have to contribute to local productions. They’ll be able to invest directly in local content or finance national funds, directly helping smaller budget films.
Streaming services will also have to contribute proportionally to their revenues in each country. It’ll be a bit tough to calculate for Amazon as Amazon Prime Video is mixed with a bunch of services as part of the Prime subscription plan so it will be interesting to see you the EU does it. It might set a model for other continents such as Asia to do something similar.
Streaming platforms will need to be transparent when it comes to their flagging and moderation mechanisms. The EU has been progressive when it comes to children content. For example platforms can’t capture personal data of children for targeted advertising purposes.
Streaming services will have to have at least 30% of their on-demand films to be local content. This shouldn’t be any obstacle for Netflix or Amazon as they are naturally progressing to more international content as they fight to attract a broad range of audience. Netflix has already announced plans to invest in European economies by opening offices in Paris and Madrid to produce more content in those countries. Europe has a long tradition of great cinema from Nordic crime drama to art house French films. At the moment there is a great range of shows on Netflix including Call My Agent (France) Money Heist, (Spain) The Break (Belgium), Dark (Germany) and Nobel (Norway).
Both Netflix and Amazon clearly see the business sense of expanding their European content, so it will likely be available not just in Europe but across North America as well. being brought in, rather than just cutting out non-EU content to balance the ratio. If that means more Nordic crime dramas or French art house cinema, who are we to complain?
Companies such as Amazon and Netflix cater their video catalogues to the market that they operate in. However, for the most part it tends to pull from the same pool of shows and movies, with some international selections here and there. We’re sure that there are some who are hoping for more locally-produced content, but the good news is that if you live in the EU, your wish could soon come true.
The European Commission has been proactive about the right of subscribers to paid streaming services such as Spotify, Netflix, Google Play, and Netflix which usually restrict content depending on what country they are being streamed in, however EU citizens can now travel throughout the union and have access to the same music and film as they have at home. However, with the Brexit break, UK subscribers might have some of their streaming perks revoked.
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