The EU To Impose Quotas On Streaming Services | TV News
New laws that are set to be put in place by the end of the year will see streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and others operating in the EU having to dedicate at least 30% of their on-demand catalogue to local content, per Variety.
The head of the European Commission department that regulates communications networks, Roberto Viola, says the rules are on track to be approved by December and will include demands for visibility and prominence of European products on streaming outlets.
The companies will be required to fund TV and films produced in Europe either by commissioning their own content, or paying into national film funds through a small surcharge added to their subscription fee. The EU’s 28 member states will have 20 months to apply these regulations, and countries could “choose to raise the quota from the 30% minimum to 40%” if they wish.
Netflix reportedly isn’t far off from dedicating 30% of its catalogue to European content anyway, but the rules are being put in place to make sure local productions are mandatory. Unfortunately, it may mean the short-term solution for some streaming services will be to cut off access to many non-EU content in order to meet the quota.
This decision arrives at the same time that CICAE – the International Confederation of Art Cinemas – has criticised the ongoing Venice Film Festival and its director Alberto Barbera‘s decision to screen films backed by Netflix in its competition line-up, which includes the likes of Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma and The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs by Joel and Ethan Coen.
The group has called for competition slots to remain solely for “works of art that will be seen in cinemas internationally”, a stance similar to the one Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux took earlier this year when he decided to exclude films from competition that had not had a theatrical release, i.e. Netflix Originals.
With streaming becoming the new normal, the fight for keeping traditional mediums and local content alive has heated up. Festival lovers fear that the cinema itself will eventually become obsolete, while departments are worried that the availability of streaming all over the world will lead to local productions no longer getting the funding and attention they deserve.
These are fights that are far from done, but we’ll wait and see the impact of the EU’s new quota system on streaming services. For bigger companies like Netflix, it might not make a huge difference, but for smaller, up and coming streaming services, it might hinder their business, at least temporarily.
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