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Italy: Netflix concerned over investment obligations

September 3, 2021

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Netflix has expressed concern over plans by the Italian government to double the investment obligations in Italian and European programmes.

The changes are laid out in the draft legislative decree that transposes the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

Instead of 12.5 per cent of net revenue, as is currently the case, OTT players will have to up their investment in Italian and European content to 25 per cent of net revenue in 2025. This move is both “unfair” and “wrong”, according to Netflix’s VP for Italian TV series, Eleonora Andreatta.

Speaking to daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Andreatta points out that the move goes against the Italian government’s policy to prioritise investments in the audiovisual sector.

The changes “risk inflating prices” she warns, as OTT players will have to invest twice as much, and could also influence the quality of content.

The head of Institutional Relations, Stefano Ciullo, said that Netflix invested over €300 million in Italy from 2017 to 2020, a figure that exceeds the initial target of €200 million. He added that Netflix plans to produce more than 45 programmes (including TV series, movies and documentaries) in two years.

For Ciullo, the planned changes are the result of “a lack of dialogue” and represent “an unfair approach”, as OTT operators will be subject to double the obligations as other players (12.5 per cent for all broadcasters and 17 per cent for public broadcaster RAI).

He expressed hope that there is still time for a discussion among all interested parties before the September 16th Parliamentary vote on the draft decree.

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