The EU is giving Netflix and Amazon two years to make 30% of their catalogs European

Netflix is getting more European.
Netflix is getting more European.
Image: Reuters/ Lucy Nicholson
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An October vote to approve content quotas in the European Union has companies like Amazon and Netflix scrambling to produce and license more European content.

The new regulations, which take effect on Sept. 19, 2020, require video-streaming companies that operate in the EU to ensure that 30% of their catalog is made up of European works. However, what “30%” means isn’t yet clear—it could refer to hours of content, number of videos, or something else altogether. Clarifications will be made by the end of 2019, after which streaming companies will have less than a year to comply with the finalized rules.

Netflix criticized the ruling in October during its quarterly earnings report, noting that the mandate would not please customers.

“We’d prefer to focus on making our service great for our members, which would include producing local content, rather than on satisfying quotas, but we anticipate that a regional content quota which approximates the region’s share of our global membership will only marginally reduce member satisfaction,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in the report.

Netflix has already invested in European content-creation hubs after opening a new production office in Spain earlier this year. Amazon also added British and German TV series in 2018.

Notably, the law states that individual countries can apply the mandate sooner than then 2020 deadline, which would create an even trickier situation for streaming companies.