Netflix: ‘quota won’t boost Euro production’

Netflix newNetflix has said it is already investing in European content, and that the introduction of a European programming quota will not boost production in the region.

The quota is part of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive, unveiled by the European Commission yesterday. It would require Netflix and other streaming and SVOD services to source 20% of their programming from within Europe.

“Our members around the world love European programming, that’s why our investment in European programming, including Netflix original titles created in Europe, is growing,” Netflix said. “We appreciate the Commission’s objective to have European production flourish, however the proposed measures won’t actually achieve that.”

Netflix has started making a select number of originals out of Europe and noted that it is ‘actively looking for additional projects’, although the bulk of its own programming still comes out of its domestic US.

“We have committed hundreds of millions of Euros in European productions so far, an investment that continues to grow,” it said.

“Beyond original productions, we have partnerships with European broadcasters including BBC (Watership Down), Channel 4 (Kiss me First, Crazy Face), ITV (Marcella), TV2 Denmark (Rita),” Netflix said. “We also license programming from the BBC and many other broadcasters and have been major buyers of European film, including several acquisitions made at the recent Cannes Film Festival.”

The quota rules would apply to acquisitions of original content as well as investment in original fare.

One concern with a European quota is that rather than spur investment in quality content, it encourages platform operators to stock up on cheaper finished programming simply to comply with the rules.

Research suggests that Netflix and its chief rival Amazon are likely already in compliance with a 20% quota In most instances, given the range of Europe-produced acquired programming on their services.

The proposed changes have met with a mixed reaction from the wider industry.