EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota.

The “streamers will be required to fund TV series and films produced in Europe by commissioning content, acquiring it or paying into national film funds through a small surcharge added to their subscription fee, something which is already happening in Germany,” reports Variety. “Netflix tried unsuccessfully to fight the German surcharge in court.”

According to VentureBeat, “specifics of the commission’s plan could add serious complications that effectively fragment both a service’s catalog and pricing depending on the country where it’s being viewed. The law will give each of the European Union’s 28 member states 20 months to apply the laws, allowing each country to choose whether to raise the European quota from 30 to 40 percent, as well as whether to have a country-specific sub-quota for local production.”

If some European nations decide to require surcharges as part of their efforts to support national production funds, this could impact subscription prices for some streaming services.

“Other European Union rules being developed are intended to force streamers and user-generated platforms like YouTube to pay increased copyright fees to film and TV directors and writers,” notes Variety.