New laws set to go into place by the end of the year will see the likes of Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services who are operating in the European Union having to dedicate at least 30% of their on-demand catalogs to local content reports Variety.
Roberto Viola, head of the European Commission department that regulates communications networks, content and technology, says the rules are on track to be approved in December and include demands for visibility and prominence of European product on streamers.
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.
The EU’s 28 member states will have twenty months to apply these new norms and countries ‘could choose to raise the quota from the 30% minimum to 40%’. Netflix reportedly isn’t that far off from having a 30% portion of European content on its platform already, but the rules are obviously to force them to up their investment in Europe.
Of course, the likely short-term solution is that many streamers will simply cut off access to various non-EU shows on the service available in EU countries so as to bring the overall number of shows available down until it meets the quota.
The report comes at the same time that CICAE, the International Confederation of Art Cinemas, has criticized the current Venice Film Festival and its director Alberto Barbera’s decision to screen films backed by Netflix in its competition line-up including the likes of Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs”.
Deadline reports that the group calls on Barbera to keep competition slots for ‘works of art that will be seen in cinemas internationally’. The group obviously stands with Thierry Fremaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival who this year took a stance to exclude films without a theatrical release in France from competition. They say that allowing films from streaming services: “encourages practices that endanger an important sector of the film industry. Cinema and television are different mediums, and cinematic films are made to be seen according to high-quality standards on the big screen.”
Part of the statement could be put down to professional jealousy. Barbera’s tenure at Venice since 2012 has been a huge success, leading to the festival rivalling Toronto to become the biggest launchpad for potential Best Picture Oscar winners. At the same time, Cannes has slowly been fading out of the limelight and isn’t seen as the shining beacon of cinematic excellence it once was.
Asked by the same outlet in an interivew this week about Cannes’ stance against Netflix and the like, Barbera says: “I think they [Cannes] have been too strict to defend a form of cinema that belongs to the past. I agree the best way to see a movie is on the big screen but I don’t think the big screen experience is going anywhere. However, we do need to work to educate the younger generations about cinema.”