Netflix, Amazon face quotas for European movies, shows

– U.S. firms Netflix and Amazon face quotas for European movies and television shows under new EU proposals unveiled Wednesday, May 25 that also aim to lift cross-border barriers for Internet shoppers, AFP reports.

The plan is the latest step towards what Brussels calls a digital single market, in which the European Union’s 500 million people will no longer be blocked from buying goods and services more cheaply abroad online.

“We have a European film culture and we think European content should be in those programs,” Guenther Oettinger, the German EU commissioner for digital economy, told a press conference in Brussels, AFP says.

The European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation European Union, called for US web streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon to devote 20 percent of their content in Europe to European movies and television shows.

Oettinger said the Commission believes that “there should be a guaranteed share of those programs,” and that “20 percent is a reasonable figure”, noting Netflix already devotes 21 percent of its catalogue to European content.

“We are giving businesses some room for manoeuvre to show non-European products,” added Oettinger, speaking in German through a translator.

Quotas already set by some member states vary between 10 percent and 60 percent, AFP says.

Fighting the dominance of Hollywood is a major priority for EU heavyweight France in particular, which has for years subsidized its own national film industry through a special tax on privately-owned broadcasters that rely heavily on US-made content.

Netflix has said it is against quotas or making contributions to film subsidies, instead putting a priority on developing its own content, including in Europe.