“A Decimation Of Half The Industry Is Not Unrealistic”: Danish Producers Urge Netflix, Viaplay & Create Denmark Union To Return To Negotiating Table Or Risk $200M Loss

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Danish production companies have penned an open letter to Netflix, Viaplay, other major streamers and unions urging them to return to the negotiating table to pave the way for recommissioning of 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.

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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, although Viaplay has concluded a short-term agreement with Create Denmark and is moving negotiations forward on a longer-term deal.

The letter 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.”

It called on all parties to return to the negotiating table and criticized Create Denmark for “demanding the introduction of principles that do not exist anywhere else in the world, and which the streaming services will not accept.”

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.

“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), which will result in “bankruptcies, firings, unemployment and a film industry that is knocked back several years.”

A Netflix spokesperson said: “We are in dialogue with the unions. We hope to ultimately reach a fair agreement for both sides that makes it possible to commission and develop new Danish films and series again.”

Viaplay Group Head of Corporate Communications Roberta Alenius said: “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.

“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.”


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