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IRIS 2018-5:1/25

Netherlands

Raad voor Cultuur recommendations on Dutch audiovisual media sector

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Nathalie Rodriguez

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

According to the Raad voor Cultuur (Dutch Council for Culture), the government’s legal advisory body on art, media and other cultural matters, platforms such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon that exploit their works in the Netherlands must invest in Dutch audiovisual productions. In February 2018, the Council presented a Recommendation to the Dutch Government in which it states that the Dutch audiovisual sector delivers diverse, high-quality audiovisual media works which contribute to the formation of a pluralist society and which play an important role in the independent provision of news. Furthermore, the sector gives Dutch citizens the possibility of exploiting their creative abilities and to significantly boost the economy. However, Dutch citizens watch less and less of these Dutch audiovisual productions. The majority of Dutch citizens prefer to watch foreign productions, in particular American audiovisual works, with the result that Dutch creative producers experience difficulties in earning their living with their productions.

In order to stimulate the production of high-quality media and to remain a competitive player in the market for audiovisual productions, the Council proposes several mechanisms to boost the Dutch audiovisual sector. The Council is of the opinion that Dutch policy and legislation related to audiovisual media is outdated and that it must be adjusted to current developments in the sector. A few examples given in the Recommendation are the stimulation of media literacy through education; the provision of financial aid in order to improve the quality of the Dutch audiovisual sector; and the stimulation of collaboration between broadcasters as a means to improving accessibility to audiovisual works. Another mechanism proposed by the Council is a circular finance system (“circulair financieringssysteem”) to protect and stimulate local producers. The Council proposes a levy for platforms that exploit their works in the Netherlands. At the moment, Dutch citizens directly pay the international platforms the due remunerations to watch these works. Inspired by other countries, the Council suggests introducing a levy for the exploitation of audiovisual media productions within the Netherlands. Platforms would be obliged to pay the levy if they wished to exploit their works by means of sale, rental or the offering of subscriptions, or through cable connections, cinemas and advertising income. The Council proposes a levy of approximately 2-5% of the income generated by works that are accessible in the Netherlands, which would be used as financial aid to improve the quality of the Dutch audiovisual media sector.

The Council considers it crucial to introduce these mechanisms in order to allow Dutch audiovisual media producers to remain competitive in the rapidly changing market and not to become irrelevant. These measures form a solution to preserve a sector that represents high-quality, pluralist and profitable audiovisual productions.

References
Raad voor Cultuur, Sectoradvies Audiovisueel: Zicht op zoveel meer, February 2018 NL
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19067
 
  Dutch Council of Culture, Advice for the audiovisual sector: Sight on so much more, February 2018      
Raad voor Cultuur, “Forse maatregelen nodig voor versterking Nederlandse audiovisuele sector,” 22 February 2018 NL
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19068
 
  Dutch Council of Culture, “Strong measures are necessary to strengthen the Dutch audiovisual sector”, 22 February 2018