Apple TV+ Could Face Ban in Europe Unless It Meets Proposed Requirement of 30% European Content
Irish lawmakers implementing European Union directives are proposing new legislation that would require streaming services, including Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix, to host at least 30 percent European content or face being shut down across the EU.
These clauses of the "General Scheme of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill" come in response to the overwhelming amount of U.S.-centric content on video streaming services. The law, if ratified, will require all streaming services to feature at least 30 percent content that may be classified as "European Work." A new Irish Media Commission would oversee the administration of the law for the entire EU and determine if streamers are meeting their obligations.
The proposal, and its potential threat to Apple TV+ in particular, was highlighted by journalist Adrian Weckler on Twitter, who pointed out that the Irish Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media Catherine Martin has specifically taken aim at Apple TV+:
Minister Catherine Martin says Apple TV+ has to have minimum 30pc European content or govt will shut it down across Europe. (— Same new legislative bill, implementing EU directive.) — Adrian Weckler (@adrianweckler) December 9, 2020
Other video streaming services, such as Netflix, produce a more balanced library of content in Europe, and would therefore find it much easier to meet the required quota. Out of the 42 movies and series on Apple TV+, there has only been one European show thus far, British comedy "Trying." Apple would need to add 17 more European programs simply to meet the required quota, without adding any further non-European shows.
Curiously, the Q&A published alongside the proposed legislation states that "European Work" is broader than strictly EU content, which may afford streamers some flexibility. This means that video content produced in the United Kingdom, for example, which has now left the EU, would still be counted as "European Work." Trying was a British Apple TV+ series produced by BBC Studios, so it would still be eligible towards Apple's "European Work" quota.
In spite of this, the vast majority of upcoming content for Apple TV+ continues to be U.S.-centric. If implemented, the legislation will force Apple to heavily invest in European content for Apple TV+ or pull the service out of the EU entirely.
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