Arcane Arcane

After years of legal groundwork and months of intense negotiations, global streaming giants have committed to spending one fifth of their French turnover on local productions.

Who’s in the deal? Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and Apple TV+ signed the agreement with the CSA, France’s broadcasting authority. Another five streamers are expected to join by the year’s end.

What have they agreed? The streamers will now have to invest 20% of their French revenues in local content. Of that percentage, 80% will go toward audiovisual works — series, movies, etc — bound for the platform. The remaining 20% will have to be spent on producing theatrical releases that follow France’s windowing rules. The finer details vary between platforms.

What kind of sums are we talking? The CSA projects that €250–€300 million (USD$282–$330 million) will be invested per year. Netflix is by far the biggest contributor: it will reportedly spend €200M in 2023, according to projections. (For comparison: Vivendi-owned pay TV group Canal+ just struck a deal to invest over €600M in French and European film across the next three years.)

What about animation? The streamers will only have to spend 5% of their investment on documentaries and animation combined. Collective management society Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) complained that representatives of these industries weren’t consulted in the negotiations.

SACD wrote in a statement: “[T]he very limited portion allocated to animation, a pillar of French excellence abroad, constitutes a real disappointment and lack of understanding from the platforms, even as they have developed a large animation offering, which drives a large number of subscriptions from parents and families.”

What do the streamers get out of this? They will avoid penalties, including a potential ban from operating in the country. But as part of the overall negotiations around their new duties, the companies have been pushing to shorten the window after which they can start streaming theatrical releases. They currently have to wait 36 months; Netflix wants 12 months, and will likely end up getting 15–17 months. Those talks are still ongoing.

Why is this happening? The new legislation is France’s way of implementing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), a legal framework introduced by the European Union. It aims to level the regulatory playing field for all broadcasters and video platforms, which means extending existing production quotas to global SVOD platforms. Read more here.

So will other European nations introduce the same law? They are expected to also implement the AVMSD (France is the first to do so). But countries have a lot of freedom to interpret the directive as they wish. For example, Spain unveiled a draft law in September that would require streamers to invest a mere 3.5% of turnover in local content — far less than in France.

Image at top: Netflix’s hit series “Arcane,” produced by the French animation studio Fortiche

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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