Overseas Streaming Giants Join Forces To Take On Federal Government’s Quota Regulations

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Several subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services have teamed up today, issuing a report which disputes proposed federal government regulations and local content quotas for the streaming giants.

Stan, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Paramount+ issued the report to demonstrate their existing  contributions to Australian content, as well as the national economy and media industry, as reported by the Financial Review.

The report references ACMA’s inaugural SVOD Australian content investment report which found streaming companies had invested $268 million in Australian content during 2020.

The unified action follows a Morrison Government green paper released last year which proposed video-on-demand services that meet a certain income threshold should be required to meet a locally produced content quota.

“Any intervention into this new and thriving sector risks disrupting successful co-production arrangements, introducing competitive disadvantages and inequities in the market, and encouraging a focus on ‘quantity over quality,” the report asserts.

“Our subscribers value Australian content on our services – and we are providing it. Our subscribers also value the diverse range of content from every continent of the world that we are making available, and want the freedom to choose what they want to watch.”

The report also emphasises streaming services’ benevolence, arguing international companies like Netflix and Amazon are not here to “replace or overtake” local FTA broadcast services.

“We respect the fact that broadcasters want to maintain their unique and entrenched role in the Australian psyche as the home of ‘live and free’ Australian content,” it continues.

“We see our role in the distribution of Australian content as being a complementary offering that sits adjacent to the local FTA broadcast sector.”

It goes on to argue such proposed content quotas will adversely create more inequality between the SVOD and FTA sectors, as well as between Australians themselves, in which more financially secure Aussies will be able to afford big budget streaming content across multiple services, while less fortunate Aussies will be left out.

The report affirms the SVOD industry is still in its “infancy”, and that further data must be provided to ACMA over the coming years to prove the international services are indeed benefitting the local economy and media industry without the need for content quotas.

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