Streaming giant Netflix has questioned the feasibility of local content requirements in its submission to the government’s ‘Supporting Australian Stories on Our Screens’ options paper review.
The review follows the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry, from which the government identified existing Australian content obligations as a topic of interest in the development of a platform-neutral regulatory framework for the Australian media.
According to Inside Film Magazine, Netflix has called for a “flexible, reasonably-set voluntary investment model that meets cultural policy goals and incentivises wider investment” as part of its response the options paper.
Netflix also rejected an option that would see all platforms required to invest a minimum percentage of Australian revenues into local content.
“If every qualifying participant in the industry is required to make new Australian content, there are serious issues to be thought through about whether this new content could realistically be made, and at what price,” said Netflix in its submission.
Netflix also stated that mandating local content production could “cause significant problems for the sector”.
Netflix pointed to its investment in local originals in recent times, including Clickbait, Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Douglas, Lunatics, The White Rabbit Project, Tidelands, Urzila Carlson: Overqualified Loser.
It comes after Free TV CEO Bridget Fair likened existing content quotas to “stepping into a time machine straight back to the 1980’s”.
“We need to get away from a regulatory approach that compels broadcasters to compete with each other, not only in relation to the same type of content, but in the same time-slots, and regardless of whether there is an audience for that content or not,” Fair said.
“The regulatory framework should incentivise broadcasters to provide a more diverse slate of content in response to audience demands.”