Australian Government Proposes Content Quotas for International Platforms – Global Bulletin

Jamie Lang
·4-min read

In today’s Global Bulletin, streamers face potential content quotas in Australia, Leonine hires former Red Arrow exec Nina Etspueler, Channel 4 commissions a second Diana doc and Tallinn’s industry section announces its winners.

QUOTA

Global platforms facing imminent local production quotas across Europe could be looking at a similar situation in Australia, where new proposed TV reforms could force international streaming services to invest heavily in local content.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, that is just one of two parts of a government plan to level the regulatory playing field between streamers and traditional free-to-air networks in Australia, which are struggling in the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is also considering the removal of annual broadcast spectrum taxes for commercial TV networks and replacing them with an entirely new licensing program that could save local broadcasters as much as $12 million AUD ($8.85 million) per year.

Proposed quotas will hit some streamers harder than others. For instance, Federal Communications and Arts minister Paul Fletcher pointed out that Netflix is an “increasingly significant acquirer of Australian content,” and would possibly hit any benchmarks imposed by the government.

Other streamers operating in Australia which are more likely to be affected include Foxtel’s Binge, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV Plus.

Pushback seems likely from the platforms. Just this year, Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus released a joint statement dismissing the notion of any market failure which needs addressing under the current system and insisted that each already makes “a significant contribution to Australia’s screen production industry.”

HIRING

Leonine Holding has appointed Nina Etspueler as head of entertainment development, reporting to CEO Fred Kogel effective Jan. 1. She joins from Red Arrow Studios, where she was group creative director, responsible for global format and content development, acquisitions and international market launches.

Etspueler will be responsible for fostering growth and participation in format development while facilitating cooperation between the company’s i&u TV and Odeon Entertainment brands and all future non-fiction investments.

She will also establish a production brand dedicated to the development of entertainment and non-fiction formats from female artists, offering women creative roles on both sides of the camera.

COMMISSION

Channel 4 in the U.K. has commissioned “The Diana Interview: The Truth Behind the Scandal,” a fast turnaround documentary from Blink Films about the fallout from the producer’s previous film “Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview,” which led to an independent inquiry at the BBC about the methods used to obtain Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview.

Interviews in the new film include Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson and graphic artist Matt Wiessler, who talks about being blacklisted by the BBC for his role in creating two fake bank statements, and about the mysterious burglary at his flat, as well as several other key figures in the scandal.

“The Diana Interview: The Truth Behind the Scandal” is executive produced by Dan Chambers, produced by Lesley Davies and Andy Webb returns to direct once again. Channel 4’s Shaminder Nahal commissioned the special.

FESTIVALS

Winners of the Industry @ Tallinn & Baltic Event 2020 were announced on Thursday evening, with ten prizes distributed to projects at different stages of development and production, with two other prizes given to promising producers.

Featuring projects from both film and TV, the Script Pool Awards of €5,000 ($5,962) went to Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s Spanish buzz title “20,000 Species of Bees,” an ECAM Community of Madrid film school incubator project, and series project “When You Fall” from Biljana Crvenkovska, produced by North Macedonia’s OXO Production. Dora Sustic’s “Afterparty” scooped the $5,000 Midpoint TV Launch HBO Europe Award.

The event’s International Works in Progress section featured 18 films this year, honoring two, Ove Musting’s “Kalev” and Vladimir Munkuev’s “Nuuccha,” with post production awards and Ernestas Jankauskas’ “I Am Fine, Thanks” and Matīss Kaža’s “Neon Spring” the Baltic Event Works in Progress Awards.

MIDPOINT TV LAUNCH HBO EUROPE ($5,000)

“Afterparty,” (Dora Sustic, Croatia)

SCRIPT POOL TALLINN 2020

“20,000 Species of Bees,” (Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, Spain)

SCRIPT POOL TV

“When You Fall,” (Biljana Crvenkovska, North Macedonia)

WIP POST PRODUCTION

“Kalev,” (Ove Musting, Estonia)

“Nuuccha,” (Vladimir Munkuev, Russia)

BALTIC EVENT WORKS IN PROGRESS

“I am Fine, Thanks,” (Ernestas Jankauskas, Lithuania)

“Neon Spring,” (Matīss Kaža, Latvia)

JUST FILM WORKS IN PROGRESS

“The Sleeping Beast,” (Jaak Kilmi, Estonia, Latvia)

EURIMAGES CO-PRODUCTION DEVELOPMENT

“Electric Sleep,” (Zeynep Dadak, Germany)

SCREEN INTERNATIONAL BEST PITCH

“Tasty,” (Egle Vertelyte, Lithuania)

MARCHÉ DU FILM PRODUCERS’ NETWORK

Laura McNicholas of 925 Productions, Ireland

Marina Naumova of Garpastum Pictures, Russia

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