Netflix, Disney Plus and other streamers should pay a content levy to help fund the making of Irish film and TV, an Oireachtas committee has heard.
he global success of Irish film and stars like Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal and Barry Keoghan should be used as an “opportunity” to showcase Irish talent, industry experts said today.
“Large amounts of money are paid by Irish subscribers to services which provide content that very often are not even based in Ireland,” said James Hickey of the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO).
“These services take large amounts of money out of the country and what the levy does is bring a small part of that back to Ireland so that it can be invested, through an agency, supporting Irish creative talent.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media to discuss the long-term vision for the sector, he said a content levy must be introduced “as quickly as possible.”
Mr Hickey revealed it costs “at least €1m to €1.5m” per episode to create a TV drama and asked members to think of the potential for new content “52 weeks of the year” if streaming giants like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and Apple TV were required to invest in Irish productions.
He added Ireland will lose its competitive edge without the levy to fund animation, film, TV and Irish language content, as other European countries already have investment obligations in place for such platforms.
Irish creative talent will not see its potential reached without a content levy, added a representative of the Joint Creative Audiovisual Sectoral Group, comprised of major players in the Irish screen sector like RTÉ, TG4 and Screen Producers Ireland.
“Our creators are ambitious, their talent is being recognised on the global stage and they want to stay in Ireland to help build a sustainable creative industry here in their native country.”
A recommendation to establish a ‘Global Irish Media Player’ to act as a “central destination” for Irish film, music, and TV was also put forward by IMRO.
“No broadcaster in Ireland can compete with the Spotifys of this world,” a representative added, who compared the proposed platform to the already established Irish Radioplayer.
The platform would act as a “shopfront,” the Committee heard, allowing Irish film, TV, podcasts and more to reach a global audience through the online portal.