TV and film producers worldwide unite to call for ‘financial contribution’ from streamers

Governments urged to take action to protect local content and the intellectual property of independent production companies

Screen Producers Ireland has joined in an unprecedented global statement by representatives of film and television production companies urging governments worldwide to introduce levies on streaming platforms and better protections for intellectual property (IP) to preserve “cultural sovereignty”.

Some 20 producer organisations from across Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have united to call on governments to ensure audiences have access to “a broad range” of locally produced content across all of the video streaming platforms they use.

“This isn’t just about regulations; it’s about safeguarding the heart and soul of our cultural narratives,” they said.

Streaming platforms that earn revenue from a particular market should “financially contribute” on a “fair and proportional” basis to the creation of new local content in that market, while governments should take steps to “address market failure and any imbalance in commercial bargaining power” between global streamers and the makers of local screen content, according to the statement.

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The producer organisations said it was important that independent screen businesses “own and/or retain control of the intellectual property” they create and that they should have the right to financially participate in the success generated by their work on a streaming platform.

Government investments in national screen industries should specify that the majority of funds are granted to projects where the IP is under the control of independent screen businesses, the statement also urges.

The international show of unity by producers comes as the Irish government mulls the introduction of a content levy on streaming services and broadcasters operating in the Irish market that would see independent production companies receive “not less than 80 per cent” of the funds generated.

However, the implementation of such a levy – made possible by a 2018 revision to the European Union’s audiovisual media services directive – is still some way off here, with Screen Producers Ireland estimating that the industry is losing out on a potential investment of €25 million for each year that it is not in place.

The producer groups uniting to issue the statement – including representative organisations from Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium – said they wanted to demonstrate their commitment to “ensuring the independence and viability of the global screen industry and the preservation of the cultural sovereignty of each nation”.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics