EU seeks to boost European productions offered by streaming providers

The European Union is set to push for its domestic films and television series to be offered more consistently on online streaming services, in a move that is expected to affect the likes of entertainment giant Netflix.

The proposal is to be included in an update of EU audiovisual rules that the bloc's executive, the European Commission, is expected to present next week.

"While we cannot go into details at this stage, we can say that the proposal will notably strengthen the promotion of European works' obligations for on-demand services," commission spokeswoman Nathalie Vandystadt said on Friday.

New investment in European works would be encouraged, Vandystadt said. Television broadcasters in the EU invest around 20 per cent of their turnover in European content, while on-demand providers use less than 1 per cent of their turnover.

Under the proposal, Europeans would also get "access to a broader offer of European works in catalogues," Vandystadt added.

According to a leaked copy of the plan obtained by the Euractiv news website, the commission will propose that streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon be required to offer at least 20 per cent of European content when operating in EU countries.

In the case of Netflix and iTunes, the share of European films currently average 21 per cent, according to commission data. There are significant variations from country to country, however.

The update of audiovisual rules is expected to be part of a package of measures that the EU will present on Wednesday to help create a digital single market in the 28-country bloc.

Another proposal will seek to grant television stations more freedom when it comes to advertising airtime, EU sources said on condition of anonymity. It would allow them to reserve 20 per cent of airtime for advertising between 7 am and 11 pm.

Television commercials are currently already capped at 12 minutes per hour in the EU. Under the proposal, stations would be allowed to spread their advertising blocks in a more flexible way over the day.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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