ASTRA CEO says streaming services should not be ‘neutered’ with local content quotas

The CEO of subscription television industry body ASTRA has rejected a push to introduce local content quotas to major subscription video-streaming sites such as Netflix, Presto and Stan.

ASTRA CEO Andrew Maiden

Maiden: “Operators should be nurtured not neutered”

Chief executive Andrew Maiden took aim at a Screen Producers Australia proposal to make streaming services adhere to quotas similar to those being looked at in the European Union.

Maiden said, in a statement, the idea was “not welcome” in Australia, adding: “This extension of regulation runs contrary to ASTRA’s bid to protect new services from the handbrake of red tape.

“Provided operators pay their share of tax to national governments, they should expect to be nurtured not neutered.”

Last week, the EU proposed new, 20% local content quotas for on-demand services that operate in the European Union.

UntitledASTRA’s remarks counter Screen Producers Australia’s encouragement for Australian policy makers to “step up to the plate” and enact similar reform by introducing content quotas and investment requirements.

In a press release, Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner said he welcomed the push for such quotas, saying: “These are big, disruptive, successful businesses that have had time to expand in the Australian market without making any significant investment in local production.”

An idea ASTRA strongly opposed in its statement.

“Europe’s bid to regulate OTT services is the thin end of a regulatory wedge that risks adding complexity and cost to over-the-top platforms whose successful growth and innovation is propelled by the unregulated nature of their operations,” said Maiden.


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