Global Screen Trade Organizations Demand Streaming Regulation, More Local Content

Production bodies across Europe, Canada, Australasia and Latin America want governments to regulate streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+. They are also demanding more resources in local content as streaming services have scaled down on acquiring and commissioning local content across many markets.

A joint statement, representing thousands of screen industry businesses, said they share a commitment to securing regulation from their respective governments. They want the industry to continue to be sustainable and maintain their nation’s cultural sovereignty. It called on government frameworks to ensure a majority of streamer investment is through projects where IP is under the control of independent screen businesses. “This would ensure indies remain strong and sustainable, and able to invest in, develop and produce new IP that taps into a nation’s unique cultural heritage.” The statement highlighted that the government has a role in addressing market failure and any imbalance in commercial bargaining power.

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Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia, said independent screen businesses are facing tough new market dynamics brought about by the global audiences’ shift to digital streaming platforms. “Our members have been telling us for some time that without intervention their financial viability and future existence cannot be taken for granted. As this global statement shows, Australian producers are not alone in this fight for survival. We welcome this expression of solidarity from around the world.”

Deaner pointed out that creative IP is what the screen industry produces. “Ownership of it is the value-add to our industry from making screen stories. It’s important that the screen IP created by Australians stays in the hands of Australian businesses and is not lost to mostly global streaming platforms. You only have to look at the global phenomenon of the Barbie movie, which is all based on successfully leveraging the IP in a created character, to see the huge value of IP ownership.”

Reynolds Mastin, President and CEO of Canada’s CMPA, said this is about ensuring local stories are discovered. Developed and told on screen, and not lost to a massive, singular global content industry. The number of organizations from around the world that have signed on to this initiative is a vivid demonstration that the issues faced by independent producers here in Canada are also confronting domestic producers in numerous other countries.

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Alexandra Lebret, Managing Director of the pan-continental European Producers Club, said the need to regulate IP ownership was a worldwide imperative. “This is because of the market pressures from the worldwide digital platforms and the increased vertical integration of our industry.”

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