The EU Wants to Force Amazon and Netflix to Stream More European Content

By Tom Pritchard on at

The EU seems to be a fan of going after big tech companies, especially when it comes to streaming. Recently it implemented rules that meant streaming services had to give customers access to their home catalogue while travelling within the EU, and now it's working on rules that say at least 30 per cent of available content has to be of European origin.

The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached preliminary agreements about revising rules relating to audiovisual content across the EU, which includes online streaming. The key point of the new rules is that the EU wants premium streaming services to make sure 30 per cent of their content is of European origin.European content.

While Reuters says that part of this is designed to make the likes of Netflix and Amazon fund more European-made content, the rules so far make no mention of that. Just that paid-for streaming services in the EU need to offer at least 30 per cent European content.

There are a lot of reasons why this is problematic. For one thing there's only so much media to go around, and the majority of it tends to be made in the USA - being the entertainment juggernaut that it is. You also have to account for the fact streaming services often have exclusive rights to content in each region, so if Netflix has rights to a series in France then Amazon does not. That further limits the amount of content they can make available. Especially since rights issues can be problematic, to the point where Netflix started bumping billions of dollars into creating its own original series so that rights-holders couldn't pull content from the service when contracts were up.

If these rules become law, it'll be interesting to see how much leeway the EU will actually give services that are clearly trying to match that quota.

Other rules outlined in the agreements include stronger rules against hate speech and and public provocation to commit terrorist offences, measures to protect children from harmful content, the extension of rules to user-generated video platforms like YouTube and Facebook, as well as the option to let broadcasters increase the amount of advertising to 20% of its broadcast time between 6am and 6pm - up from the current limit of 12 minutes per hour.

The rules will still need to be approved by the European Parliament, which is expected to happen in June. [Reuters via Engadget]