Conservative MEPs vote against new Netflix content quotas

25-Apr-2017 @ 13:00

No items found. No items found. No items found.

Conservative MEPs vote against new Netflix content quotas

European Parliament proposals on revised TV broadcasting rules could stifle consumer choice, increase red tape and threaten freedom of speech, say Conservative MEPs.

They believe the Culture and Education Committee’s report on the revised Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) could limit the choice of video-on-demand content available to viewers across the EU, create legal uncertainty and increase the regulatory burden for business.

Proposals adopted by the committee today not only support the imposition of inflexible quotas for the amount of EU-produced content carried by service providers such as Netflix, but raise them from 20% to 30%.

Conservative Culture and Education spokesman Andrew Lewer MEP said: “Twenty per cent was bad enough, but an increase to 30% will undoubtedly have an negative impact on the quality of the catalogues on offer as quotas are padded out with cheaper content. I see no positive consumer impact, nor evidence from the Commission that higher quotas will increase investment in European works.”

More worrying still is the Committee’s decision to accept the Commission’s proposal to weaken the country of origin principle at the heart of the AVMSD by allowing Member States to impose a levy on providers delivering content to their domestic audiences.

Mr Lewer commented: “This levy is a tax, pure and simple, and we all know that taxing success does not drive innovation or investment. UK tax breaks, on the other hand, have proven very successful in supporting our cultural and creative industries. Member States wanting to prop up their own audio visual sectors by taxing others might want to bear that in mind.”

Conservative MEPs voted against key parts of the package. While backing the overarching aim of the AVMSD revision, published as part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market package, to update common EU broadcasting rules for the digital age, boost investment in quality content and protect consumers, they believe the Commission proposal and committee report miss the mark.

Mr Lewer said: “Despite the best efforts of Conservative MEPs to strike a sensible balance, we are left with a report that weakens the very principle that has allowed the UK to become the world-renowned, international broadcasting hub it is today.”

« Back