Netflix and Amazon are being forced to show 20% European content

Andrus ANSIP Vice-President of the ECEuropean CommissionAndrus AnsipVice-President of the European Commission.

The European Union has announced that it will force Netflix and Amazon to meet quotas for European movies and TV shows.

Streaming services and traditional broadcasters will have to show at least 20% European content.

Günther Oettinger, member of the European Commission in charge of digital economy and society, said: “We want new service providers to meet these rules so for young people there is some European culture on offer for them.

“It’s a way of promoting the film industry but also promoting European identify. Old films are sometimes good. For example, Charlie Chaplin is a timeless thing.”

When asked whether content providers will fill up their platforms with cheap, old content in order to meet the 20% quota, Oettinger said: “If they [the streaming services] buy stuff that isn’t good viewers will not watch them anymore. We trust the providers to fill them with sensible stuff, otherwise the viewers will not view.”

“We have a European film culture,” Oettinger continued. “We think European content should be in those programs which European viewers watch. There should be a guaranteed share.

“We think 20% is a reasonable figure,” said Oettinger. “That means 80% can be non-European.”

Critics have branded the separate proposal to compel streaming giants like Netflix to devote 20% of their content to European programming “prehistoric” and protectionist.

The plans were presented by the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, at a press conference in Brussels. They must now be approved by member states and the European parliament.

Another key proposal outlined on Wednesday is to ban “geoblocking”, whereby customers are limited to websites in their home countries for services like car hire or travel, and are blocked from seeking better prices on foreign sites.

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