In an attempt to protect its film industry, Italy is planning to introduce a law requiring all domestic films to be first screened in cinemas before being broadcast on demand on streaming services like Netflix.
In practice, the law will formalise the existing practice of a 105-day window between cinema and streaming release.
The delay can be reduced to 60 days for films shown in fewer than 80 cinemas or viewed by fewer than 50,000 people in the first three weeks.
However, it will also be possible to have no window, for those who opt so, and for Netflix it will therefore be possible to release a film simultaneously in cinemas and online, but in this case, the movie will lose the public economic benefits, such as the tax credit and ministerial financing.
The new measure was announced by Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli who explained that the measure also seeks to protect cinemas and their income.
The move comes after the controversy caused by this year’s Venice Film Festival when several movies came from streaming services Netflix and Amazon, including the Golden Lion winner “Roma”.
In the opinion of the Italian film industry, festival winners should be available to a broader public than just Netflix subscribers.
The head of the Italian General Association of Performing Arts (Agis), Carlo Fontana, told daily Il Messaggero that the new law will protect against “unfair competition”, although he admitted that blocking streaming platforms “is as illusory as it is useless”.