An October vote to approve content quotas in the European Union has companies like Amazon and Netflix scrambling to produce and license more European content.
The new regulations, which will come into force on September 19, 2020, oblige video streaming companies that operate in the EU to ensure that 30% of their catalog is made up of European works. However, it’s still unclear what “30%” means – it could refer to hours of content, number of videos, or something else. Clarifications will be made by the end of 2019, after which streaming companies will have less than a year to comply with the finalized rules.
Netflix criticized the decision in October during its quarterly earnings report, noting that the mandate would not please customers.
“We would prefer to focus on improving our service for our members, which would include producing local content, rather than meeting quotas, but we expect a regional content quota that comes close to the share of region in our global members will only slightly reduce member satisfaction,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in the report.
Netflix has already invested in European content creation hubs after opening a new production office in Spain earlier this year. Amazon also added British and German TV series in 2018.
Notably, the law states that individual countries can apply the mandate before the 2020 deadline, which would create an even trickier situation for streaming companies.