The European Union is setting out new proposals that could force US streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to show more European TV shows and movies in the continent. Sites are also asked to prominently feature the titles and make financial contributions toward their production.
The news comes from a report in the Financial Times, which has seen a draft of the proposals due to be announced next week. They state that in European countries, 20 percent of streaming services’ content must consist of EU-made movies and shows.
Additionally, EU member states will have the option of requiring streaming companies that target its citizens to contribute financially to the production of European media content. Currently, this rule only applies to services that are based in a country’s jurisdiction.
"It is clear that the current film financing system is being challenged by quick changes in production, distribution and consumption, triggered by digital technologies," said Guenther Oettinger, the EU's digital Commissioner.
As you can imagine, this isn’t going down well with a lot of European users of streaming sites. Not only does the requirement to feature more EU titles have the potential to mess up the personal recommendations algorithm, but featuring them on a homepage could push out popular US content.
In response to the proposals, Netflix said they could result in streaming companies purchasing cheap (and therefore often terrible) European content to meet the EU quota. "An obligation to carry content to meet a numerical quota may cause new players to struggle to achieve a sustainable business model," it said.
Some other suggestions in the proposals will doubtlessly be more welcome by members of the EU public, such as stricter age barriers on video-sharing platforms like YouTube to protect minors. It also calls for an end to geoblocking, which, in the unlikely event it ever happens, would be pretty remarkable.