Movie and TV streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video that operate in the EU will soon have to ensure that at least 30% of their content is sourced from the EU. European Commission member Roberto Viola said that the new laws will be approved and put on the books in December, if all goes according to plan. After that, member countries in the EU will have 20 months to put local laws into effect, and can also push the quota up to 40%. This local content can take the form of original creations made in the EU, licensing EU-made media, or paying into film funds and other contributions in the EU.
According to Viola, Netflix in particular is already quite close to hitting that 30% minimum mark. Some time in October, the Commission will be publishing a set of figures that denote how much EU local content can be found on various streaming services that will be affected by the law. It is worth noting that this law will not affect Netflix's international catalogue; while the company has to obtain and distribute local content in the EU, it does not necessarily have to license or distribute that same content anywhere else. Likewise, it does not affect international players that are not available in the EU. This means that if a streaming services does not want to comply with the new laws or cannot for financial reasons, they can simply pull services from the EU. While Europeans could still access those services with a VPN by faking a connection from another country that does have service availability, this does not seem to be covered by any provisions of the new law.
EU regulators have been bearing down hard on the tech world lately, with a particular focus on the exceedingly large high-tech market in the United States. In this case, the push seeks to help European content producers and networks to get their content onto all of the largest cable alternatives and streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, both helping to grow their revenue and ensuring that their content is still available to those who choose the cord-cutting lifestyle. As an aside, related legislation is in the works that would obligate all sorts of streaming platforms, including the likes of YouTube, to pay higher royalties to film directors and writers. Since those laws cannot be enforced outside of the EU, the success of that law would mean that EU creatives are being paid more by streaming platforms than those in other countries, which could cause backlash and even copycat laws.