February 25, 2024

Australia

Australia is urging streaming platforms to support local content to support local screen industries facing stiff competition from giants such as Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

A statement by the Screen Producers Australia (SPA), alongside their counterparties in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain, calls for regulating streaming service providers. These regulators want streaming platforms to air relevant content in their markets.

Streaming Platforms Under Pressure to Air Local Content

The campaign seeks a resolution to promote the viability and independence of the global screen industry. It argues that the industry will be threatened, and mandatory quotas are needed to support local content.

Production companies are calling upon relevant governments to address the issues plaguing the market. Digital platforms are also responsible for supporting fair and promotional contributions to support local content in markets where the involved parties will generate revenue.

There has been an issue with the support streaming giants give to local streaming industries. Netflix, Disney, and HBO stole the show during the Emmys awards held earlier this week. Content aired on these platforms, such as Beef on Netflix, The Bear on Disney, and Succession on HBO, were among the winners.

Local Content Quota to Come to Streaming Platform in Australia

The Australian government is also working on having a quota system for streaming platforms by mid this year. The local film industry wants the government to impose a 20% local content quota. However, streaming platforms reject this quota and demand as low as 2%.

The Australian screening industry anticipates that the quota framework will come into effect from July 1. However, the local content quota supported on these platforms is still unknown.

The industry is holding consultations on the best ways to support local content and the screening industry.

One of the proposed mechanisms involves ensuring that streamers allocate a portion of the revenue from Australian users to support content created in Australia. This will boost the financial viability and existence of the streaming industry.

International streaming platforms are easily expanding their reach into the local industry. While doing so, they are inhibiting the competitiveness of local screen producers.

Netflix is already taking note of the proposed changes. The streaming giant said it does not oppose this regulation. However, it asserted that the regulatory framework needed to be equitable and sustainable and use evidence to develop the proper measures to benefit all involved parties.

Disney+ has also weighed in on the matter. The streaming platform claimed that if a local quota were imposed, it would affect it more, given that competitors like Netflix already have a vast number of Australian TV shows on their platforms. It will be easier to attain the required percentage.

The joint statement also wants more protection for screening intellectual property for local content. The efforts seek to protect countries’ unique cultural heritage by supporting film and television.

The relevant bodies also want the screen IP created by Australians to remain with local businesses so it is not lost to global streaming platforms.

The current regulations demand that free-to-air commercial TV stations broadcast 55% of local Australian content on their main channel between 6 AM and midnight. However, the government has yet to impose similar restrictions on streaming platforms.


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