The European Commission, the European Union’s top regulator, is asking Netflix and iTunes to have at least 20 percent of their content be produced in Europe, as they want more homegrown television and films represented worldwide on the most popular streaming platforms.
The new ruling means streaming services will have to invest their own money into creating new European content, and while the EU says European broadcasters are investing around 20 percent of their revenue into original programming, the amount featured on Netflix and iTunes is negligible (around one percent).
While the EU is issuing these requirements as a way for Europe to benefit both artistically and financially, Netflix considers these new rules to be anything but positive.
They say they already invest hundreds of millions of Euros into European productions, hold licensing agreements with broadcasters like the BBC, and produce tons of European content. In fact, their first original production launched last month, and their second will debut later this year. A spokesperson for Netflix says the Commission’s desires, while admirable, will not come to fruition by forcing streaming services to do more than they are currently.
The EU does acknowledge that both Netflix and iTunes surpass the 20 percent and therefore shouldn’t be upset about a requirement they already fulfill. However, this quota is just one part of a giant initiative to update their audiovisual media directive, which services the 28 nation bloc. The Commission is aiming to keep kids safe from violent and pornographic content in broadcasting, especially through online streaming. They are requiring video platforms like YouTube to better monitor content that is deemed offensive and detrimental to both children and adults. They also want broadcasters to give ample warning to viewers ahead of any potential unsavory programming.