Online streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime face a European programming quota under new EU rules

Caitlin Morrison
Follow Caitlin
A Netflix return mailer is pictured in M
Brexiteers said plans to introduce a quota for streaming sites could impact people wanting to 'Netflix and chill' (Source: Getty)

New rules governing the content provided by online video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are set to be announced by the European Commission next week.

Streaming firms will be required to devote at least 20 per cent of their offering to European content, as the Commission tries to increase funding for Europe's film and TV industries.

The proposed new rules will also require the likes of Netflix to make sure that European works have "prominence" among the rest of the available content.

European films already account for 27 per cent of films shown on streaming services, according to a study undertaken for the Commission, and account for 21 per cent of films on Netflix.

Current broadcasting rules require on-demand services to promote the production of and access to European works, without specifying quotas, although over half of the EU's 28 members have introduced national quotas.

Read more: Catastrophic EU rules are destroying digital sector

The Commission's plans will also give member states the option of requiring streaming services based in other nations to make a financial contribution towards production of European works, either by directly investing in them or by paying into national funds.

"It is clear that the current film financing system is being challenged by quick changes in production, distribution and consumption, triggered by digital technologies," Guenther Oettinger, the EU's digital commissioner, said while attending the Cannes film festival.

The Commission is set to announce the proposal on 25 May together with a law banning so-called geoblocking, the practice whereby websites treat customers differently depending on their country of residence, either by re-routing them to their home version or banning their access altogether.

Meanwhile, the unofficial Brexit campaign, Leave.EU, jumped on the proposals in a bid to sway voters in the coming referendum - warning that EU membership may soon disrupt people’s plans to “Netflix and chill”.

Related articles