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“Public service networks spend $21B a year”: EBU hits back at Netflix claim

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has responded to Reed Hastings’ claim Netflix is the “biggest builder” of cross-country culture in the EU.

The EBU, which represents Europe’s public broadcasting networks, said its members spend €20BN ($21BN) a year on “homegrown” content, well above the investment of SVoD services.

This came after Hastings on Monday talked up the cultural capital of Netflix, especially its ability to attract viewers from one country to content from another.

At a talk at Netflix’s Amsterdam HQ, the company’s co-founder and Executive Chairman quipped it was “ironic” a U.S. company had achieved such a position. He said this was “partially because all the other networks are national networks who specialize in one language group. We specialize in connecting.”

However, in a statement issued to Deadline, the EBU pointed to several metrics by which Europe’s networks lead international streaming rivals.

“Public service media are proud to be the biggest investors in European content,” said the org. “Our members finance 43% of all European content, excluding news and sport, whereas the SVoD services cover less than 2% of content financing. Public service media are producing as well as just distributing original European shows.”

The statement also noted its members — who include the BBC, France Televisions and ZDF — were “prioritizing European content on our VoD platforms with 95% of programming originating from a European country, compared to just 31% of the content available on Netflix.”

The Los Gatos-based streamer fulfills its 30% content quotas in most major European territories, an Ampere report last year revealed, quietly building its European content library without impacting its regional business.

Netflix spent around $16.8BN on content last year globally, and has been pushing hard in the EMEA region, which last year became the streamer’s biggest by subscribers with 76.7 million.

The EBU has 68 members in 56 countries across Europe. Deadline

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