Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ will face regulation to invest in Australian content as Australian regulations catch up with other global players.
Nearly eight years after Netflix launched in Australia in 2015, closing the ‘regulatory gap’ between unregulated streaming platforms and regulated traditional TV has become a priority for Tony Burke in the arts. Minister’s top priority.
Australian streaming regulations
Announced as part of the Labor Party’s new National Cultural Policy, a six-month consultation period will begin to consider the form and strength of new streaming regulations. The deadline for the new streaming regulations to come into force is July 1, 2024 at the latest.
The regulation is framed as a revenue tax, with a portion of the streaming platform’s Australian-derived revenues having to be spent on local television and film. Australia’s existing television regulations include a local content transmission quota of 55% for commercial free-to-air television and a spending requirement of 10% for pay-TV drama content. The revenue levy will be a new policy mechanism in Australia’s television regulatory arsenal.
Regulating local content on government streaming platforms is especially urgent. From 2020 to 2021, Australians are more likely to watch online video than traditional TV for the first time. Major US streaming platforms now dominate the viewing landscape, while Australian mass service Netflix reaches more than 50% of his TV households.
The government is concerned about the growth of online video without cultural regulation, and that this, combined with the rise of American platforms, could lead to the “drowning out” of Australian voices and stories. Regulating local content on streaming platforms is a way to uphold Australia’s cultural identity, ensure Australians continue to see themselves on screen, and support the screen sector with jobs and investment.
Some industry players, such as Screen Producers Australia, are pushing record high earnings tax rates of 20%. It is estimated that the 20% tax will generate about $500 million a year and create him 10,000 jobs in the screen sector.
But some experts say such high charges for local and global platforms could backfire and reduce the competitiveness of domestic services Stan may have with Australian content. I warn you. If every service had to invest in Australian content, there would be less to distinguish Stan’s position in this space.
Opposition to new regulations
Unsurprisingly, major streaming platforms have previously voiced their opposition to the new regulation, believing that current levels of investment in Australia are sufficient. The Australian Communications and Media Authority reported that his Australian content spending from five major platforms for 2021-22 was $335.1 million.
While lobbying against new regulations, streaming platforms are also planning ahead for potential obligations. For example, the return of Amazon’s Neighbors would be of great help in meeting future Australian content obligations.
The government has not disclosed at what percentage the revenue tax will be set. That’s what the consultation period is for, they say. Nevertheless, numbers are not left out either.
Streaming regulations around the world
Some countries around the world have much higher regulatory frameworks than Australia when it comes to regulating streaming platforms. There are important lessons to be learned from these countries, not just in terms of seeing what kind of regulation is possible, but also in understanding potential regulatory pitfalls.
The European Union is widely regarded as the world leader in regulating digital platforms. The EU legislated his 30% catalog quota of European productions on streaming platforms in 2018 under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which is due to come into force in 2021.
Catalog quotas take into account the overall size of your streaming library, and 30% of these titles should be European. For example, the average Netflix library in the major markets in 2021 will be about 5,300 movies and TV shows, with about 1,590 European titles. The Catalog Quota uses a broad definition of “European” work that includes various countries across Europe beyond the EU itself, such as Turkey and, ironically, the United Kingdom.
Australia’s focus on revenue taxation on streaming platforms looks like additional EU member state regulation enacted under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. France, with its strong cultural policy and history of ‘cultural exceptions’, is aggressive in enacting high revenue taxes. Her 20-25% tax rate in France is the highest in Europe and is also the country explicitly mentioned by Screen Producers Australia when asking for her 20% tax rate in Australia.
French taxation was not without its quirks and criticisms, and was considered too high even by the European Commission. Part of the 20-25% revenue requirement is to spend on general European content (which may also include UK content), as well as archival footage restoration, content subtitling and dubbing, etc. can be met with the investment of
Different spending options are worth bearing in mind when trying to compare potential Australian regulations to French settings. There are other percentage ranges in place across EU Member States.After extensive negotiations in Denmark, the level reached was 6%. I have presented some potential challenges. During difficult times, Netflix and other services have completely stopped ordering Danish productions in light of what the service deemed a costly proposition.
As well as the importance of discussing the intricacies of the policy mechanisms for regulating streaming platforms in Australia, the upcoming consultation period will focus on the cultural dividends that Australian content can pay and how much money can be raised. Only dramas, children’s or independent productions. So far, Labor has prioritized First Nations stories and perspectives as the first pillar of its national cultural policy. This is a worthwhile goal to consider for streaming and local content regulation.
- Oliver Eklandis a PhD candidate in Media and Communications. Queensland University of Technology
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