The Australian government is getting ready to impose local content requirements on streaming services to stop overseas programming, particularly from Hollywood and the United States, to avoid “drowning out” Australian storytelling.
The quotas will be implemented no later than July 1, 2024, though the specific percentage of Australian content that international streaming providers will be required to generate and deliver is unknown at this time.
“The government has committed to take the necessary action so that Australians continue to be able to see and hear quality homegrown content, regardless of which platform they are using. It is important that streaming services invest in key genres, including children’s content, scripted drama and documentaries,” the policy states.
So with this push to increase local streaming content, is it possible we’d see something similar in the United States?
After all, Australia is hardly the first country to implement streaming quotas.
In Europe, streamers are required to have at least 30% of European content in their catalogs, with some countries having raised the threshold, while others are in the process of compelling streamers to make local investments through independent producers and guarantee that producers will retain a percentage of the rights.
Additionally, Canada is working to pass legislation that would require different audio and video streaming services to give local artists and musicians more exposure.
But unlike those countries where international content is not as prevalent on U.S.-based streamers, the U.S. is hardly lacking in content.
John Landgraf, chairman of FX Content and FX Productions, recently said there were 599 English-language adult scripted original series last year, up 7% from 2021.
And even though Peak TV may be coming to an end, per Landgraf, a decrease in the number of series in 2023 still leaves viewers with hundreds of options.
One possibility could be states pushing for content to be shot specifically within their borders. After all, states already incentivize Hollywood via tax breaks.
California presently provides $420 million in incentives for filming each year, along with New York, which has a smaller film industry. And Georgia, which doesn’t have an annual cap, doled out $1.2 billion on film and TV tax credits in 2021.
These tax breaks, along with the others offered in over half of the states, illustrate an intensifying competition between states vying to lure Hollywood productions with large incentives.
While studios frequently choose the highest bidder, some states have recently increased their tax benefits to outmaneuver their neighbors.
In January 2022, New Jersey expanded tax credits for film, television and digital media producers in an ongoing effort to position the state as a top location for high-profile projects.
By the end of the year, Netflix had committed to building a new $848 million production facility at the former Army base in Monmouth, N.J., while Lionsgate to build a $125 million film studio in Newark, N.J.
It’s easy to understand why states are stepping up their incentives.
Filming in these locations creates a spillover effect as the production hub may encourage private sector investment in the infrastructure and businesses of neighboring industries, such as post-production and other digital facilities and services.
However, only time will tell if the U.S. follows in Australia’s footsteps.