Australian stars push for streaming service local content investment quota

28 June 2018

Australian stars push for streaming service local content investment quota

High profile Australian actors, writers and directors have urged the Government to mandate a local content investment quota for streaming services such as Netflix.

Stars such as Judy Davis, Richard Roxborough and 30 others, told politicians — including Minister of Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield — that the the local screen industry is under dire threat and could be wiped out by the new streaming services.

Andrew Knight, the writer of hit television series Jack Irish, said that he has never witnessed the local industry being in greater jeopardy than it is now.

Their aim is to make popular on-demand platforms allocate at least 10% of their Australian revenue on Australian programming.

There is currently no requirement for the platforms to spend any money on local shows, unlike free-to-air channels, which must meet a local programming quota of 10%.

“It’s a moment in time when the streaming giants, Netflix, Amazon, soon to be Disney, and Telstra and Stan have no local content requirements,” Richard Roxburgh said.

“What they’re doing in the rest of the world is sorting out some small impost so some of the huge earnings they’re making are fed back into the local industry. That’s why I’m here — to prosecute that idea,” he said.

The Australian Directors Guild has proposed that Netflix be required to spend 10% of its Australian revenue on programming Australian content.

With a million subscribers, the requirement could dramatically increase viewership of Australian content as well as provide a significant increase in activity for local productions.

Mystery Road and The Dressmaker star Judy Davis said, “It is literally a moment in time where the Government of Australia can intercede with companies like Netflix and ensure there is a degree of local content.”