Proposed changes to the law in Australia could see services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime be required to produce a percentage of their content within Australia.
What Is the Australian Government Proposing?
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian government are proposing a change to the country’s media regulations.
This is being launched by Federal Communications and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher, who says that the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy has accelerated the need for regulations to support the local TV industry.
The government are concerned that the dominance of streaming services is having a negative impact on the quantity of content that can be produced on home territory.
The government paper outlines that streaming services must invest a percentage of their Australian revenue in local content. This includes commissions, co-productions, or acquisitions of content.
Speaking of the proposals, Fletcher said:
What we are proposing would rebalance Australia’s media regulations so that the industry can continue to support jobs, connect communities, and keep Australian stories on our screens regardless of whether they prefer to watch free-to-air television, subscription television or video-on-demand services.
The paper doesn’t specify what percentage would be required, though a 2017 federal inquiry laid down a suggestion that streaming services invest 10% of local revenue back into new Australian content.
Netflix were singled out as a large acquirer of Australian content already, and may potentially already meet requirements. However, other streaming services like Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and Disney+ also operate in the territory.
How Will Streaming Services React?
As you might imagine, streaming services are unlikely to be pleased at the idea that they should be mandated as to how they spend their money.
In fact, a number of services including Netflix and Disney+ submitted a joint statement to the Australian government earlier in the year, stating that they “already make a significant contribution to Australia’s screen production industry” and that “we strongly believe that there is no market failure to address”.
For you as a subscriber, more variety in content is only a good thing. It means more global productions that provide an interesting insight into Australian life.
Watch Netflix With Friends Across the Globe
It doesn’t matter if you’re in America and your friend is in Australia. You can still watch Netflix together. That’s because there are a number of websites and apps that let you host watch parties, so you can all view the same thing simultaneously and chat as you watch.