It’s being reported today by Variety that “Quotas obligating Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating in the European Union to dedicate at least 30% of their on-demand catalogs to local content are set to become enshrined in law soon.” This isn’t anything new for Apple who currently accommodates Canadian content by offering a certain percentage of Apple TV programming and movies in “French.” English Canadians were held hostage and couldn’t get Apple TV when it first launched until Apple delivered a French section. With that experience under their belt, Apple will be able to accommodate such quotas for the European markets.
Today’s report noted that “Roberto Viola, head of the European Commission department that regulates communications networks, content and technology, said the new rules, which will also demand visibility and prominence of European product on streamers, are on track to be approved by December. “We just need the final vote, but it’s a mere formality,” he told Variety at the Venice Film Festival.
Netflix, Amazon and other 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. Netflix tried unsuccessfully to fight the German surcharge in court.
Viola said that, starting in December, the EU’s 28 member states would have 20 months to apply these new norms and that countries ‘could choose to raise the quota from the 30% minimum to 40%.’ Of course if the production costs are more than they’re worth, Apple can always decline or drop its Apple TV service from the EU.
Viola noted that Netflix isn’t that far from having a 30% portion of European content on its platform already, but said that the new rules are clearly intended to force streamers to up their investments in Europe.
He added that, in October, the EU will publish figures showing the percentage of European works already present on the various streaming platforms. “It doesn’t have a legal value, but will help national regulators apply the rules,” he said. For more on this, read the full Variety report here.
In May Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple TV is Entering the Pay-TV world with Canal+ in France.” Then in June we posted a report titled “Apple Orders an English Adaptation of an Odd French Drama Series where Visuals are Minimal.” So without rules, Apple understood that working with European partners to advance Apple TV with European content would be the right business move to make in the big picture.
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