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WORLD | 15-01-2020 13:25

France looks to force Netflix to invest in local productions

French Culture Minister Franck Riester moves to tackle US streaming platform in order to boost national audiovisual industries.

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 a regulatory reform.

Netflix compiles seven million French users and opened a headquarters in Paris a few months ago. The negotiations should enable the public authorities to regulate the conditions of competition between traditional broadcasters and new entrants.

The government intends to modernise a system that has long seen broadcasters and cinemas subsidise production of local television shows and films to include streaming firms which 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.

In other words, Netflix will be forced to invest 200 million euros in the French market instead of 125 million euros with this increase.

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 the France's most internationally-known actors, Gerard Depardieu, premiering in 2016.


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