A group of the biggest Danish production companies have penned an open letter to Netflix, Viaplay and other major streamers urging them to recommission local content or risk “a decimation of half the industry” after estimating the sector will lose up to 1.5B DKK ($200M).
Following the collapse of negotiations with the Create Denmark union in January, Netflix, Viaplay, TV2, HBO Max, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have stopped ordering local Danish TV shows and films due to their high cost.
All these streaming services rejected a framework nine months ago agreed by Create Denmark and the Danish Producers Association and the open letter called the content-stoppage “not just a financial disaster, but also an irresponsible behaviour towards the Danish industry as a whole.”
The issue concerns the “terms and scope of payment for the transfer of rights from creative talent,” according to the letter.
It added: “The misfortune does not only touch producers, but also crews and suppliers, as well as the creatives, script writers, directors, actors, directors of photography, production designers and editors – whose interests are handled by Create Denmark.”
The open letter was signed by the bosses of major indies in the Nation: Fremantle-backed Miso Film, ITV Studios-backed Apple Tree Productions, SAM Productions, Nordisk Film Production, SF Studios and Tall & Small.
While conceding that Danish content is “expensive” and the streaming services have “other options” – bar TV2 which has a legal obligation to commission locally – the letter urged the SVoDs to “negotiate with a will to comprise so deals can be made urgently.”
“The long-term consequences, if this situation continues, may be more serious than any of us wish to see,” it went on to say. “A decimation of half of the industry is not unrealistic. And this at a time, where we, together, were growing more than ever.”
The letter forecast the industry’s loss at between 1B DKK ($130M) and 1.5B DKK ($200M), forecasting a loss of income of that magnitude will result in “bankruptcies, firings, unemployment and a film industry that is knocked back several years.”
Viaplay Group Head of Corporate Communications Roberta Alenius said the Nordic outfit has concluded a short-term agreement with Creative Denmark and is moving negotiations forward.
“We understand the frustration expressed in the open letter and share the producers’ concern about the impact that the current situation may have on the long-term investment climate in Denmark,” she added.
“There remains the question of a long-term agreement that, together with the Danish legislative proposal for a so-called cultural contribution or streaming levy, will be important in determining how attractive it will be to invest in Danish content in the future. We love producing Danish content and want to find sustainable and long-term solutions that benefit the entire ecosystem, both in relation to the agreement and the cultural contribution or streaming levy. We therefore look forward to constructive dialogue with the relevant organisations and policymakers in the ongoing negotiations.”
Deadline has also reached out to Netflix for comment.