It’s Time To End Netflix’s “Free Ride” In Australia: Liberal MP

CHIANG MAI ,THAILAND - March 31, 2018 : Close up Netflix website in laptop screen. Netflix being popular internationally.
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Liberal MP and co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of the Screen Industry Trent Zimmerman has urged Netflix to support the local screen industry after years of having a “free ride” in Australia.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Zimmerman said more commitment is required streaming companies to the local industry.

“It’s time for streaming services, which are enjoying growing and significant revenues from Australians, to stump up and support our own screen sector,” he said.

“They are currently getting a free ride and a competitive advantage over traditional media, which is both unfair but also denying Australians the chance to be part of our own stories.”

Zimmerman also discussed Australia’s current local content quotas, which see FTA broadcasters legally required to play a certain amount of local programming.

These quotas are not applied to services like Netflix.

“Our laws and support systems for Australian screen content don’t yet reflect the way in which all of us are consuming content,” he said.

“Some content providers have formalised requirements to carry Australian content, while others do not, creating an unfair imbalance.”

In response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry, Free TV Australia last year labelled quotas “not sustainable”, specifically in regard to children’s content.

Zimmerman’s comments follow a recent interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in which he said the streaming giant is working on more Australian content.

“Having Australian content is super important for Australian culture, but also for Netflix,” Hastings said.

“So then the question becomes, is it good to use incentive funds? Is it good to use quotas? Is it good right now just to monitor and write reports and see what’s happening?”

According to the Herald, streaming services are now pushing for ‘voluntary’ targets, rather than quotas.

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