Netflix and Amazon, get ready for content quotas in Europe – CNET

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“Marseille” is one of the few Netflix original TV shows set and produced in Europe.


If you’re not already a fan of British period dramas and Scandinavian noir thrillers, this may be the time to get on board.

On-demand video services including Amazon and Netflix may soon need to adhere to rules that dictate how much of their European catalogs must be occupied by European films and TV shows, according to the Daily Mail.

A European Commission proposal due to be announced next week will include an obligation for on-demand services to dedicate a 20 percent share of space in their offerings to homegrown content, said documents seen by the newspaper.

“While we cannot go into details [regarding possible quotas] at this stage, we can say that the proposal will notably strengthen the promotion of European works’ obligations for on-demand services,” a Commission spokeswoman said Friday in a statement.

Many European countries already have quotas regarding content made within the EU, but the lack of EU-level rules means there are massive variations between member states. Some countries may have up to 60 percent European films in their catalogs; others may have only 10 percent, according to the Commission. A move from the EU to put an international quota in place could be seen as an attempt to harmonize the rules, but overall its mission is to bolster the European film industry.

Under the proposal, EU member states would be able to demand financial contributions from streaming services to produce new European work, either by direct investment or by putting money into national funds.

Amazon and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

TV broadcasters in Europe currently invest 20 percent of their turnover in European content production, whereas on-demand providers invest less than 1 percent. “The proposal will therefore aim at encouraging new investment in European works,” the spokeswoman said. The result would be more access for Europeans to European works in catalogs, she added.

In a speech at Cannes Film Festival earlier this week, Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip hinted at coming changes that will impact on-demand streaming services in Europe and emphasized his commitment to expanding Europe’s creative industries — particularly the film industry.

One of his primary goals, he said, is “broadening its exposure and audience, particularly between EU countries.” Ansip also wants to boost the circulation of European works and help European cinema reach a wider audience.

“It is time to update [the rules] to reflect new online realities and the changing digital world,” he said. “This is also about creating a level playing field.”

The Commission is expected to announce the proposal Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported, along with laws that restrict geoblocking, whereby Internet users are shown different content depending on where they are viewing it from.

Netflix and Amazon, get ready for content quotas in Europe – CNET