Denmark to add 5% streamer tax, companies aren’t happy

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In a bid to protect its homegrown screen industry, Denmark is the latest European nation to take on the might of the streamers. 

We’ve sometimes covered stories from the French film industry on this site, where an ongoing power struggle between the sector and streaming platforms often ruffles a feather or two.

Put simply, the streaming platforms have become somewhat used to getting their own way across the world but France’s staunch insistence to protect its homegrown screen industry through strict exclusivity windowing laws has led the streamers to threaten (and sometimes make good on their threats) to pull films from cinematic releases in the country. Disney’s Strange World is one such example.

France’s approach is sparking pushback across Europe though and Denmark is joining other countries in following suit. According to Screen Daily, 'on June 14, the government announced that political agreement had been reached on a cultural levy on streaming service providers’ revenues generated in Denmark.

A basic rate of 2% of the Danish revenues will apply to all on-demand streaming companies, while a 3% surcharge will also apply to companies that invest less than 5% of their Danish revenues in Danish content. For many streamers, this means the total levy rate will be 5%. Conservative estimates suggest the levy will raise around €8.5m (Kroner 100m).’

The ‘streamer tax’ is intended to compel streaming platforms to invest in homegrown Danish productions or essentially fork out extra cash to the tune of €8.5m that will be invested back into the screen industry. Unsurprisingly, the move hasn’t gone down with the coalition of European VoD companies who have responded, stating its members are “concerned about the unintended consequences”, without apparently being self-aware enough to realise that the statement sounds a bit like something a Sith Lord might say.

Other European countries are doing the same too. In Italy the rate is as high as 20%, encouraging streamers through punitive economic measures to invest in homegrown cinema and television. Unsurprisingly, France’s terms continue to be the most robust, adding up to a potential total of a 25% levy if streamers don’t invest enough in its infrastructure.

It’s a general trend that is not being followed here in the UK as our industry continues to move in a markedly different direction. Where that leaves our own homegrown screen industry decades from now, not to mention the quality and quantity of our cultural exports remains to be seen. However, if this approach does prove to be the way forwards in safeguarding national cinema, the UK is being left behind. You can read the UK Department of Culture’s rationale for its decision-making here, should you wish to.

Image: BigStock

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