SPADA calls for Government regulation to ensure Netflix and other streamers 'play fair'

The New Zealand Screen Producers Guild (SPADA) says it's time the Government intervened to regulate the streaming giants to ensure they "play fair". 

Irene Gardiner, the organisation's president, said it is now urgent work begins on how best to get the international streamers to contribute to the New Zealand screen eco-system of which they are a part. 

Speaking on Friday to AM host Ryan Bridge, Gardiner said they were calling for a levy to be introduced so that money could be funnelled back into local productions from the streaming giants, saying it was time the companies started paying their way in New Zealand. 

"We haven't set a figure as it seems wrong to go out with an exact figure at this stage," she said. 

"I'm guessing it's somewhere around 5 percent because that's what other international territories are doing because this is quite a global thing. The impact the streamers have had on local audience, local television has been pretty extreme around the world. 

"Some people are going for a levy; some people are going for a quota and some people are going for a mixture of the two - a quota's a bit tricky in New Zealand because of a particular trade agreement that we have. We've gone for a levy, funnelled back through TMP, (Te Māngai Pāho)  NZ On Air and the Film Commission." 

However, when Bridge raised the issue Netflix only has about seven NZ shows on its service and why should they be made to pay for shows they don't purchase or use, Gardiner said they needed to show a bit "more goodwill". 

"The streamers have been a bit slow off the mark in taking New Zealand seriously as a territory to commission or buy from. Perhaps if they had shown a little more goodwill there, there might be a different way of dealing with this but that hasn't been the case. 

"We're just asking them to play fair really. They operate in NZ with no broadcasting regulations, no tax paying, they use our broadband infrastructure which in effect taxpayers pay for and they don't contribute here and they really, really hurt local production here as they have done internationally.  

"They're big companies, they may well push back but I would say it is not in their interest to hurt local production globally because they need content. They're part of our eco system, so we're just asking them to play fair. 

"A lot of NZ audiences still enjoy and seek out local content even with the masses of content out there - local content is always the premium point and it does do well online, it's just the big players have come in, they have changed the way people view." 

SPADA claimed New Zealand productions working with international productions raised $4 billion annually. 

Watch the interview above.