EU to go ahead with quotas for online streaming services
Following the European Union’s plan to support cultural diversity, and more locally produced film and video content online, the Commission has just announced that it will be moving ahead with a quota system for streaming services. This will affect major services including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
It would mean that, going forward, at least 30% of on demands show and films would need to be original productions, and be made in the EU member state where the service is provided. In some individual member states it could be as high as 40%. In addition to this, services will need to ensure the local content is clearly displayed and easy to find.
According to the European Commission directorate general of communication, networks, content and technology, Roberto Viola, the quotas could be implemented as early as December this year. “We just need the final vote, but it’s a mere formality,” he said in a recent interview”.
Germany have already gone ahead with content quotas on streaming services. This also means that surcharges are added to subscription fees for the services to protect local production funds. However, Netflix had tried to challenge the move, which was introduced to support the local film industry. They argued that it went against the EU laws on state aid. This was later dismissed by the European Courts.
It’s been noted that member states would require the target audiences to make a financial contribution to European films, TV shows or other online content. This could be done by a national funding scheme or direct investment, but the amounts that users would need to contribute would vary depending on the revenues in that country.
EU lawmaker Sabine Verheyen, who is was one of the lawmakers pushing for this legislation said in an interview: We have been successful in negotiating that a similar level of protection now also applies to internet media services, as it does to the classical broadcast media services.”
Supporting cultural diversity is already of high importance in Europe. In fact, protecting language and cultural differences is the norm. For example, some EU countries already require cinemas to screen a proportion of locally made content. These revisions to the law, however, go a step further. They place new requirements on broadcasters to support content across the region, promoting European content, and reserving screen time for it.