Netflix and most other providers of on demand services in Poland are soon likely to find themselves paying a “contribution” to the country’s film industry.
In one of the most important developments in the local media industry in a week shortened by the May Day national holiday, the parliament (Sejm) approved an amendment to the Act on Cinematography, as part of a series of protection measures from the coronavirus pandemic, requiring VOD services to pay 1.5% of their annual revenues to the Polish Film Institute (PISF). In practice, this will amount to a combined total of PLN15 million (€3.3 million) this year, rising to at least PLN20 million in subsequent years.
Poland’s Minister of Culture Piotr Glinski has been reported as saying that this will be a contribution rather than a tax as it will not go into the state budget. He added that the funds will aid the production of local content, which will subsequently be shown by VOD services, and that such a contribution is already made by Polish broadcasters.
Moreover, he underlined the fact that a number of countries including France, the Czech Republic and to a degree Spain and Portugal have such “contributions” in place to aid their film industries.
Although this has been described as an anti-crisis move, it is more than likely it will remain in place once the pandemic has passed. And it will certainly hit VOD services, with only the smallest once exempt.
Indeed, had it been in place last year, Netflix, which claimed the highest revenues, would have found itself having to pay PLN6.44 million into PISF’s coffers and second placed Ipla, operated by Cyfrowy Polsat, PLN4.03 million. Amazon, which is only just starting to make its presence felt in what is already a crowded market, would have been PLN666,000 out of pocket.
Despite coming in for criticism from several quarters, the move is unlikely to have a major impact on a sector that is growing rapidly in Poland.
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