Netflix subscription fees may rise if MTRCB regulates industry: media law expert

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2022 02:09 PM | Updated as of Sep 22 2022 02:46 PM

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MANILA — Filipinos may end up paying higher subscription fees to streaming services like Netflix if the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is allowed to regulate the industry, a media and law expert said on Thursday. 

Marichu Lambino, a professor of media law at the University of the Philippines, said the MTRCB may collect millions of pesos in fees should its power be expanded to streaming services.

She said that if MTRCB charges a P12,000 fee per movie, streaming services will have to pay millions due to the huge libraries of films and TV shows they offer.

"Kung titingnan mo 'yung Netflix, 'yung Netflix ay mayroong 17,000 titles. I-multiply mo 'yan ng P12,000 each title, makakakuha siya ng parang [P204 million]," she said on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(If you'll check Netflix, Netflix has roughly 17,000 titles. Multiply that to P12,000 and you'll get around P204 million.)

She warned that streaming services might pass this fee to their viewers and result in higher subscription fees.

Lambino said she opposes the proposal to expand MTRCB's power to these services as these firms have more sophisticated classification tools and the MTRCB has a history of censorship.

The MTRCB on Tuesday said updates are needed to widen its jurisdiction to cover international video streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon.

“With regards to online streamers, hindi pa siya nasasaklaw. Kaya kailangan amyehndahan ang PD 1986, if we want to include the online streamers,” MTRCB Chairperson Diorella Maria Sotto-Antonio said during the deliberation of the agency's 2023 budget.

In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News Thursday, Sotto-Antonio said that she would "wait a few weeks first before I discuss this on air."

"I still need to discuss this with the board, and we are currently constructing the bill. I'd like to discuss it with them first before I talk about it in public."