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EU Cultural Diversity

Pissing the money away By Pbrundel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

From our Swindon Correspondent:

From The Guardian

Under the EU’s audiovisual media services directive, a majority of airtime must be given to such European content on terrestrial television and it must make up at least 30% of the number of titles on video on demand (VOD) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

Countries such as France have gone further, setting a 60% quota for European works on VOD and demanding 15% of the turnover of the platforms is spent in production of European audiovisual and cinematographic works.

We’ve been here before, the Cinematograph Films Act 1927. British cinemas had to show 7.5% of films as British, rising to 20%. The cinemas didn’t care, and neither did the audience, so films were produced, and shown at strange times, just to meet the requirements of the law. These were known as “quota quickies”. There were even specialist companies who produced these movies (and were sold by the yard). They were mostly awful by most accounts – hire in some cheap actors, do as few takes as possible and get it done.
Eventually, and it took decades, this all got dropped.
“The high availability of UK content in video on demand services, as well as the privileges granted by the qualification as European works, can result in a disproportionate presence of UK content within the European video on demand quota and hinder a larger variety of European works (including from smaller countries or less spoken languages),” a paper distributed among the member states reads. “Therefore the disproportionality may affect the fulfilment of the objectives of promotion of European works and cultural diversity aimed by the audiovisual media services directive.”

The problem is that unless you throw money at people creating works, it just doesn’t add up. Over the centuries, greater travel technology has reduced the number of languages. The printing press, trains, airlines, internet all mean that knowledge and transactions, whether business, cultural or social take place over a larger distance. You’re a hat maker in Cardiff or Penzance, the trains arrive and now you can sell hats in London. It’s going to be useful to know English to do that. And in that situation, the bigger language in terms of value, subsumes the smaller language. And when it wins, it becomes even stronger, because now, you’ve also got the people in Cardiff and Penzance, so as they start going to France on holiday, more of the French find it useful to learn some English.
English dominates cinema and TV for this reason. You can make a TV show in the UK and easily export it to the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Then there are countries with English as a strong second language like the Netherlands and Denmark. And a problem with Europe is that “European” isn’t one language or culture. The German speaking population is about 92 million people, and that’s the largest population. English is the first language for half a billion people.
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Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
2 years ago

The Chinese that I deal with in business all learned English at school. (Penmanship was an important part of the curriculum.) That’s over a billion. Why are so many call centres sited in India? Because English is taught there too. Add nearly a billion. Most Africans can communicate in English. Add a billion.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
2 years ago

The Chinese you deal with in business are not typical of all 1.3 billion inhabitants. Try speaking English in some remote Yunnan hamlet and see how you get on. Something similar is true of India (although, like Scandiland, English is something of a lingua franca) – stop someone on the street in Bombay or Bangalore and there’s a fair chance they’ll understand English, but this isn’t true of the boondocks.

John B
John B
2 years ago

Have these EU clowns not heard of VPN? US/UK content can be streamed directly from the VOD platforms in those Countries and there is no way the EU or anyone else can control the proportion of European content on those platforms.

Control freaks trying to control the uncontrollable.

2 years ago

British made content is European. I guess that’s not what they’re complaining about though…

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