Pedro Almodovar, Agnieszka Holland and Paweł Pawlikowski are among 592 signatories to a letter calling for the introduction of a levy that would see streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon be forced to re-invest at least 25% of their turnover in European countries back into local independent industry.
This debate is raging across Europe. The European Directive of Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS), signed in November 2018, gave EU countries 21 months to introduce national legislation based on its terms, which were to create “a level playing field for emerging audiovisual media” and to “preserve cultural diversity” by making streamers re-invest in European nations.
Now that the deadline has arrived, it is up to individual nations to interpret and introduce those laws.
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As Deadline reported on last week in Portugal, one of the first counties to progress the law, local filmmakers are up in arms after the government’s interpretation was seen to be too soft on the streamers. The wording of the bill meant that no contributions would necessarily need to be made to the Portuguese National Film Fund, which is the crucial hub for backing local independent industry.
This new letter, produced by the European Producers Club, which is run by 130 influential figures from the continent, is zeroed in on France, which is set to be one of the next nations to publish its interpretation and is expected to be the firmest in terms of its obligations placed on the SVODs.
The letter calls for “at least” 25% of a platform’s turnover to be re-invested locally with “at least” 80% reserved for independent production companies, and a majority for local language production, across film and series.
“We, all European audiovisual authors and producers, call for the European Commission and all EU Member States to level the playing field between all operators and enforce on the online platforms operating in our countries the same commitments towards European Culture that traditional broadcasters have been fulfilling,” the letter reads.
You can read the full letter and see the list of signatories here.
Deadline has contacted Netflix and Amazon for comment.