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EU could force Netflix to fund European movies and TV shows

The European Union is pondering restrictions on online streaming services that would compel them to feature more locally made content.

The proposed changes could require the likes of Netflix and Amazon to reinvest a percentage of their earnings in European countries on local content.

While many EU countries have laws in place that require broadcasters to give back around 20% of their earnings to fund local programming, this rule doesn’t currently apply to streaming services established in another country.

A further change could also require the streaming giants to ensure at least 20% of their library features local content, although Netflix is already adhering to this with 21% of its films coming from the EU.

“The way we watch TV or videos may have changed, but our values haven’t,” said EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger, (via BBC).

“We also want to ensure a level-playing field, responsible behaviour, trust and fairness in the online platforms environment.”

Related: How to find 4K HDR content on Netflix and Amazon Prime

While the plan could ensure some much-needed investment in European cinema, there would be ways in which Netflix could get around the rules, should they come into play.

The company could load up on cheap archive content (think old series’ of The Bill in the UK), or simply cull some of its non-EU content from subscriber’s libraries.

“This will have a positive impact on cultural diversity and bring more opportunities for European creators,” said the EU civil service.

Netflix says: “Our members around the world love European programming, that’s why our investment in European programming – including Netflix original titles created in Europe – is growing.”

Last week the EU was seeking to relax licensing laws to enable streaming subscribers to take local content with them.

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