EU rules Netflix and Amazon must invest in more Europe-made content

4 Oct 2018

Netflix logo on laptop screen. Image: bernardojpb/Depositphotos

A new EU policy means Netflix, Amazon and other video-on-demand services must spend more in Europe.

The way we consume media now has far outpaced audiovisual media legislation in the EU, as growing numbers of viewers watch television and films from video-on-demand (VOD) streaming services such as Netflix.

Boosting Europe-made content budgets

On Tuesday (2 October), lawmakers in the EU voted on a new audiovisual policy. The new rules state that Netflix, Amazon and other VOD services must ensure their libraries are made up of at least 30pc Europe-made content.

The legislation still needs approval from EU member states. If approved, countries will have approximately two years to incorporate the legislation into their respective national legal frameworks. Adoption of the text passed by 452 votes against 132, with 65 abstentions.

Any new shows or films must be matched with Europe-made content in order to comply with the new policy and regional content will also have to be given adequate visibility on the various VOD platforms.

The directive applies to local and pan-European broadcasters as well as streaming services. As well as enforcing the new quotas, the policy calls for boosted protection of children “from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising”.

Netflix and Amazon preparations

According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Netflix and Amazon have been working to increase their local European production. The former has unveiled plans for new production hubs in both France and Spain. The latter recently revealed a whole new selection of European content.

Bloomberg reported that Netflix is doubling its European programming budget to $1bn and Amazon will soon have at least a dozen original series in Europe, up from just one in 2014.

Member states will also be permitted to require streaming services to help finance the production of European content. This may be achieved through levies paid into national funds. These levies will be based on the revenue the companies collect from each individual country.

Netflix logo on laptop screen. Image: bernardojpb/Depositphotos

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects