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Streaming Giants Could Be Forced To Spend Big On Aussie Content Under New Law

Streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ could be made to invest in local Australian content under new policy proposals aimed to prop up our media industry.

The proposals are part of a new green paper released by Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who outlined four policy changes to Australia’s media and content landscape.

It includes enforcing spending obligations on Australian content for on-demand streaming.

The requirement would see the streaming services spend a proportion of locally earned revenue back into the local market. This would only apply to providers that exceed a specific revenue threshold.

Fletcher told the Australian Financial Review that 5% would be an appropriate amount to ask streaming services to inject back into the local market.

“One of the things we’re asking for feedback on is what the percentage level should be … In the September announcements, we said we were going to move the spend level for pay TV – Foxtel’s drama channels – from 10 per cent to 5 per cent,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher also pointed out the revenue threshold to qualify for the requirement would be quite high, so recent entrants into the Australian streaming market such as ITV’s Britbox may not qualify.

Nine’s Stan and Foxtel’s Binge are already subject to local content quotas and do not fall under the requirement umbrella.

Netflix has already spend a significant amount on local original content, including $54.5 million in Clickbait, which is being filmed in Melbourne.

The green paper outlines three other proposals, including a broadcast license regime which would cut the fees free-to-air networks pay the government for the spectrum used to broadcast TV.

Stan also commissioned five local productions in 2020, totalling $65 million.

The streaming services are expected to push back against the tough spending obligations in the coming months.

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