The European Parliament has voted in favour of imposing a quota of thirty percent European content on video streaming services, as confirmed by a European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (CULT Committee) press release.
European Members of Parliament (MEPs) supported the motion to “support the cultural diversity of the European audio-visual sector”, which would require video streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to have thirty per cent European content. The statement does not explain the criteria by which content would be considered European though, so this is currently open to interpretation.
Parliament also approved new rules which ask video streaming services to contribute to developing European productions either by “investing directly in content or by contributing to national funds”. The statement adds that companies should apportion contributions across the EU Member States based on the revenues earned in each country. Essentially, companies should contribute more to countries in which they are popular.
MEPs also adopted enhanced protection of minors from harmful advertising, hatred, and terrorism, while adopting redefined limits on advertising too. These new rules are designed to apply stricter rules on advertising on children’s TV programmes and to create an “effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content”. Crucially, this will not involve automatic content filtering.
It is worth keeping mind that there are limits to Parliament’s power here. MEPs approved these new rules in a plenary session, which means that the texts containing the rules must be formally approved by the Council of EU ministers before becoming enforceable. Moreover, the new rules will form part of a Directive, so they will not be automatically binding on the Member States as is the case with GDPR. The Member States would have twenty-one months to adopt the Directive’s provisions within national law.
In short, while these rules could change the kind of content that big video streaming services upload to their platforms, these new rules are not yet binding. They may be amended or dismissed by the Council of EU Ministers and even if they are adopted the changes will not come into effect for almost two years.