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SPADA Calls On Government To Regulate International Streaming Platforms

The New Zealand screen producers’ guild, SPADA, has called for Government to regulate international streaming platforms by requiring them to pay a levy on their New Zealand revenue.

Speaking at the launch of a new Love Local campaign at SPADA’s annual conference in Wellington this morning, the organisation's President Irene Gardiner said it was urgent that work begin on how best to get the international streamers to contribute to the New Zealand screen eco-system of which they are a part.

“We will be suggesting to our new Government that a levy be put on the platforms’ New Zealand revenue, which could then be invested back into local production via the screen funding agencies NZ Film Commission, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.

“The streamers currently pay no tax in New Zealand, face no regulation, and use broadband infrastructure that was partially funded by our Government. As has happened globally, their negative impact on local broadcasting viewership and therefore advertising revenue has been huge, which has been very challenging for local production.”

Gardiner said many other countries had introduced ways to regulate streamers - some territories were going for a local content quota, others a levy, and others a mixture of the two.

“We appreciate these are big businesses, and they may want to push back, especially on a small territory like New Zealand, but it’s not in the streamers’ interest to devastate local production either here or globally. They need content and you get that by having strong domestic screen industries.

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“They are a part of the screen eco-system here and we would ask them to take that responsibility seriously and play fair.”

Gardiner said the pressure on local production the streamers had created was having a negative impact both culturally and economically. “We need to keep our domestic production sector as strong as we can because in turn it helps support the international production sector, and together we generate $4 billion per annum. Local and international need and feed each other.

“The cultural argument goes without saying - the creating and sharing of New Zealand stories with New Zealanders is essential to our country’s well-being. It builds national identity, helps bring us together, fosters knowledge and freedom of thought, reflects our country's unique culture, and makes us laugh.

“And as we increasingly take our stories to the world, it all helps build our industry and international reputation, it positively impacts tourism, increases export dollars, and creates valuable New Zealand intellectual property.

“If we could add new investment from the streamers to the mix, that would be a significant boost for our local production sector.”

Gardiner also used the Love Local launch to advocate for the Screen Production Rebate to be kept strong and competitive, and for our screen funding agencies to be invested in sustainably.

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