An influential Dutch think-tank for culture (‘Raad voor Cultuur’) recently published a study on the media sector. One of their surprising advices, is to increase taxes (2 to 5% on total turn-over) for on-demand audio-visual content, such as provided by Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. This income is to be re-invested in the cultivation of the ‘typically Dutch’ cultural sector, both in public and commercial productions. A second advice is that services such as Netflix should pay more attention to content relevant to the Dutch public, e.g. Dutch spoken programs and/or content made by Dutch programmers.
What does this mean?
Globalization and localization go hand in hand. In countries like Italy and France it is normal to demand local content from international platforms. This has resulted in, for instance, the French House of Cards, namely Marseille. The national re-orientation is new in commercial media in The Netherlands, but not unexpected. Apart from perhaps the Danish – who created Borgen and The Killing, international series with couleur locale – most non-English speaking countries have serious difficulties broadcasting national TV shows and films at home, let alone world-wide.
There is an ongoing debate about the taxes media platforms pay. These taxes are likely to be increased in the coming years in the EU. It might also be part of a broader EU revolt against the power of platforms – led by EU politician Margerethe Verstagar, who deals with competition, hence market-monopolies – in which more restrictions are applied to information flows, privacy issues and tax payments. This should be in the advantage of citizens, who will receive more local content and more investment in their cultural sectors.