22 MAY 2023

Could Netflix miss the European Commission’s quota without UK content?

A potential post-Brexit removal of UK titles from the definition of “European” content could pose a significant challenge for Netflix, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.


"The English Game" (Netflix)


While Netflix currently exceeds the European Commission’s 30% European content quota across the region, a potential post-Brexit removal of UK titles from the definition of “European” content could pose a significant challenge for the streamer, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

In fact, should the decision be made to exclude UK content from the legislation, Netflix could fall short of the 30% quota within every European market it operates, with the share of non-UK European content ranging from 28% in Germany, down to 21% in Ireland when looking at the proportion of distinct titles (movies or TV seasons).

Such a move is reportedly being considered by the European Commission and would require Netflix, and indeed all major US-owned streamers, to transform their European catalogues. Netflix, which met the current content quota across its European markets (excluding the UK) in October 2022, relies heavily on UK content: according to Ampere Analytics, among Netflix’s European markets, the UK is the primary production country of a quarter of its European titles.

Other global streamers are already struggling to satisfy the current UK-inclusive quota. Prime Video, which exceeds the 30% quota in six of its European markets (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland), would have only two markets remaining above the threshold (Germany and Italy) if UK content were to be excluded. HBO Max meets the current quota in only the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and is set to fall short in all markets with the exclusion of UK content. Disney+, which does not meet the UK-inclusive quota in any of its European markets, would fall even further behind: with European content currently averaging at around 10% across its European markets, this figure falls to around 4% when excluding UK content.

The proposed new quota could require major global streaming services to either invest significantly in more European content, or drop non-EU or UK titles from their catalogues. While subscription OTT services’ commissions of European content have been in decline since the second quarter of 2022, a major regulatory change could encourage streamers to reconsider their investment strategies in the region, as was the case in France in 2022, when strict windowing regulations led to Netflix pledging to invest US$45 million annually in local feature films.

“But as growth in content investment is expected to slow in coming years, the acquisition of lower value European content could be an attractive option for streamers looking to bulk up their European catalogues, offering opportunities to European producers with large back-catalogues, while keeping streamers' programming costs down. Alternatively, streamers could drop non-European or UK titles from their services to increase the share of European works, though this would result in significantly reduced catalogues. For example, Netflix would need to reduce its total catalogue in Ireland by almost a third to meet this quota,”  said Sam Young, Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.

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