We May Soon See a Lot More European Content on Netflix and Amazon
Due to a recent legal ruling in the European Union, international streaming services like Netflix and Amazon will need to create more European Content.
A new rule created by the European Union may soon change the content you see on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
According to the new law, streaming services that operate in the EU will need to guarantee that at least 30-percent of its libraries feature local EU content within the next few months. So expect the libraries of your favorite international services to gain a whole lot of new content with a European flair.
The rule isn’t law yet, but a preliminary agreement is already in place. The quota is set to begin in December and reports suggest that the vote is essentially a formality.
The rule means that the streaming companies have a few options.
To start with, they can commission original European-made movies and films. So expect a slew of new content coming from the countries that make up the EU. The second option is to buy/license existing properties, which will mean that the content isn’t necessarily original (unless they buy unreleased properties) but it will add to the libraries’ content, just the same. The third option is to add a surcharge to subscriptions in order to pay into national film funds. Netflix currently does something similar in Germany for that reason, but it means the money is going to a fee rather than an investment.
Netflix is already pretty close to reaching 30-percent and there are plenty of European shows and movies on Amazon Prime, many of which are original. Shows like the Cable Girls from Spain and Dark from Germany are being overseen by local EU production teams and produced by Netflix, with multiple audio tracks (including English) distributed at the premiere alongside with the original audio.
Depending on how the EU classifies some of the shows, both Netflix and Amazon may already be very near the 30-percent goal, but it also depends on how the programs created for and with the UK are classified. At the moment, a show like The Crown would likely count toward the total, so too would licensed shows like Sherlock, but if/when Brexit becomes a reality in March 2019, the UK will no longer be part of the EU – and so in theory, neither will its programs.
This might seem like a burden to force a company to significantly increase its content, but it probably won’t alter any of the plans for companies like Amazon and Netflix. Both have actively been courting European audiences, and both already have content made – or licensed – for those audiences. Netflix has been massively expanded its foreign content over the last few years, and not just for the EU, but for a global audience. Meanwhile, Amazon has been purchasing licenses and services that already have big international libraries that are simply being folded into the Prime service as separate channels, like Britbox.
So in the next few months expect an influx of European content in the US, and if you are in the EU look for more local content to be made available soon. Different regions have different agreements; for example, a show like Doctor Who can be found on Amazon in the US, while in the UK it is on Netflix, so results will vary by location.
If you are a fan of international content, this is a very good thing. If not, well, you’re missing out.