EU Rules: 30 Percent of Netflix Films must be European

On Tuesday, the European Parliament decided that at least 30 percent of the content of streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime must be made up of European content in order to preserve Europe’s “cultural diversity”.

The new legislation, which could also force platforms to finance films and television programs produced in Europe, still needs to be confirmed by the EU Member States. After that, countries will have about two years to transpose the legislation into national law.

Some of the platforms such as Netflix or Amazon already offer a wide range of European content – but that would be further enhanced by the new guidelines to meet the requirements.

For example, all new shows and movies have to be compared to the number of European shows to keep the 30 percent quota. Local content also needs to get a good placement on the platforms so that the user can easily find it. Representatives of Amazon and Netflix expressed themselves according to a report of the news agency Bloomberg.

Experts interviewed by Bloomberg said the new EU rules could prove positive for the economy. “When it comes to music, for example, we’ve seen how important local content is,” said Paolo Pescatore, a London-based independent technology and media analyst. “Given the fragmentation of the European market, there is definitely a demand.”

In addition, a broad lineup for on-demand providers is important, as the companies tried to expand internationally. Netflix, for example, shows  such as the German series “Dark”, “Marseille”, a French political drama with Gerard Depardieu, and an Italian crime series called “Suburra”. Local language programs are well received by European viewers and are often more popular with advertisers than imported broadcasts, analysts told Bloomberg..

Netflix has raised its European programming budget to $ 1 billion this year, and Amazon will soon have at least a dozen original European series to choose from – in 2014 it was just a show.

Some Member States, such as France, have already introduced a so-called cultural tax, which is paid by cinemas, broadcasters and internet service providers in the country. On-demand providers that have subscribers but no headquarters in France, have to pay two percent sales tax on income from the country.