EU PLOT To Cut The Amount Of British-Made Television Shows And Films Broadcast in European States
A memo, seen by the Express and the Guardian, that was sent to member states by the EU Commission on June 8, reportedly complained about the ‘disproportionate’ amount of British-made films and television shows screened in Europe now that Britain is no longer a part of the EU.
Brussels‘ eurocrats stated that they wanted some of the British content replaced with that produced by EU member states, citing smaller countries like Latvia and Cyprus, with officials claiming that allowing too much British-produced material to be screened presents a threat to the “promotion of European works and cultural diversity” within the bloc.
The EU’s audiovisual media services directive states that European-made content must make up 30 per cent of the titles offered on streaming platforms or VOD (video on demand) such as Amazon Prime, and Netflix, while terrestrial content must always be a majority of European-made, with France setting their quota higher, at 60 per cent on VOD, and with 15 per cent of the platform’s turnover having to be reinvested in the production of European-made works.
An excerpt from the document reportedly says, “The concerns relate to how Brexit will impact the audiovisual production sector in the European Union, as, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, the UK provides half of the European TV content presence of VOD in Europe and the UK works are the most actively promoted on VOD, while the lowest EU27 share of promotion spots is also found in the UK”.
Continuing, “Although the UK is now a third country for the European Union, its audiovisual content still qualifies as ‘European works’ according to the definition provided by the AVMS directive, as the definition continues to refer to the European convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe, to which the UK remains a party”.
Reportedly, the UK’s sale of international television programming and film rights in Europe is currently worth around £1.4billion (€1.63billion), thanks to the ‘European works’ treaty, but, should the EU try to redefine the terms of this treaty, then it could see the amount of British content reduced on European screens.
A spokesman for the UK government reportedly said, “European works status continues to apply to audiovisual works originating in the UK, as the UK is a party to the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT)”.
A midterm review of the AVMS directive is not due until three years’ time, but France takes over the rotating presidency of the bloc in January 2022, so it remains to be seen if they might try to push any reforms through, which would mean that if this EU plot to cut the amount of British content ever did happen, then viewers living in EU countries may no longer be able to watch as many of their favourite series on streaming platforms.
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