Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will likely soon have to ensure at least 30 percent of their libraries are dedicated to local content in the European Union. A preliminary agreement on the rules is already in place, and Roberto Viola, who oversees the European Commission department in charge of networks, content and technology, said the quota is set to become law in December. He indicated to Variety that the vote is "a mere formality."
The streaming companies will have to commission European-made shows and movies, buy them or contribute to national film funds. The services will also likely have to make sure the local content has prominent placement in their libraries.
Once the measures are enshrined in law, EU countries will have 20 months to apply them, and Viola noted that member states can opt to increase their individual quotas to 40 percent of local material. The nations can also determine if they want to mandate production of a minimum number of shows and movies in their own countries, and whether they will apply a surcharge on subscription fees to pay into national film funds, like Netflix has to do in Germany.
Netflix is already close to meeting the EU's 30 percent quota, Viola said; the EU will publish data next month highlighting how much European content each streaming service currently offers. Meanwhile, the EU is also working on rules to require streaming companies and platforms like YouTube (where users upload most content) to pay higher copyright fees to writers and directors.
Streaming services have made investments in some other local markets. Netflix, for instance, is spending $400 million on Canadian content over five years.