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May 25, 2016

EU wants Netflix to offer 20 percent European content

by John_A

The European Union is updating its broadcasting laws to cover online services like Amazon and Netflix. As part of the move, the union is looking to prevent these firms just leeching money out of the 28 member states without putting something back. That’s why the new rules mandate that 20 percent of each company’s content library needs to be European in origin. Rumors of the ruling prompted fears that on-demand businesses would have to pay millions for obscure content that nobody wanted. But it turns out that Netflix is already doing more than the bare minimum to promote European film and TV.

The proposals cite data from the European Audiovisual Observatory, which conducted a survey of on-demand businesses last year. It found that Netflix actually had 21 percent of European-made films in its back catalog, thereby satisfying the new regulations. It’s not much above the minimum, sure, but enough to prove that the company had nothing to fear from the rule change. It should probably be worth mentioning that plenty of Hollywood blockbusters, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, are filmed across the pond. Perhaps that exaggerates the tally a little, since those films would, surely, qualify as European.

As well as devoting one fifth of their respective libraries to European content, video services will be required to “give a good visibility” to homegrown media. That means both making it easier to find and letting people search for European-only content, or simply adding a promotional banner encouraging everyone to watch Marseille.

Source: On Demand Digital Markets, Europa, European Commission

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