The Kind of Content Amazon and Netflix Stream in Europe Could Soon Change

May 19, 2016, 10:00 AM UTC
Photograph by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND AFP/Getty Images

The streaming content offered by Amazon and Netflix in European Union nations could soon get a lot more, well, European.

The European Commission wants to add companies like Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) to an existing law that ensures national broadcasters dedicate at least 20% of their offerings to European films and TV shows as a way to fend off the intrusion of U.S. content. The Financial Times reported on a draft of the legislation that would overhaul the bloc’s broadcasting rules. It’s expected to be introduced in Brussels next week.

The goal of the proposed rule is to prompt video-on-demand companies to contribute financially to the production of European films and televisions shows, putting them on the same playing field with national broadcasters, who are subject to the 20% regulation. The new measure, which will exempt “small and micro enterprises,” is part of a larger effort by the EU to increase investment in its television and film industry.


In a submission to the European Commission, Netflix argued that such “rigid numerical quotas” could “suffocate the market for on-demand audiovisual media services,” and urge video-streaming operators to simply buy cheap European titles. The company said the measure could also cause new players to struggle to find a sustainable business model and would interfere with Netflix’s “personalized” approach to streaming services. The EU should incentivize the production of European content, not impose quotas, Netflix said.

Netflix did not immediately return Fortune‘s request for comment; neither did Amazon.