France wants Netflix to invest 25% of revenue in local content

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 15 2020 09:29 PM

PARIS - France wants streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to invest a quarter of their sales in the country into French and European productions, more than has previously been evoked as part of regulatory reform.

The government intends to modernize a system that has long seen broadcasters and cinemas subsidize the production of local television shows and films to include streaming firms that have so far faced fewer demands.

Culture Minister Franck Riester met Tuesday with industry representatives about the reform, which is to be taken up by lawmakers in April.

Obligations for streaming firms to invest in local content are in line with a recent EU directive on audiovisual media services, and according to a ministry document seen by AFP, streaming firms will face different investment obligations depending on their content.

Those offering a wide variety of programming will have to invest at least 16 percent of their revenues in local content -- a level that had been evoked when the reform was unveiled last year. 

However, the document also contains a previously undisclosed rate of 25 percent rate for streaming sites that offer mostly TV series and films, a category that would include both Netflix and Amazon.

When he unveiled the reform last year, Riester threatened to go as far as blocking streaming sites that refuse to comply with investment requirements.

Netflix, in particular, has been developing local content for a number of years, with its first major French production titled Marseille featuring one of France's most internationally-known actors, Gerard Depardieu, premiering in 2016.