Ted Sarandos, the CEO of Netflix, is currently visiting Israel where he is lobbying the government of that country to drop plans to require streaming services to offer a minimum amount of locally produced programming. Sarandos has already met with President Isaac Herzog and Israel’s Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel.
Netflix is worried that such a requirement could hurt its plans for future expansions. The company has also hit a plateau when it comes to worldwide subscriptions and seen its stock price drop considerably recently and so it does not want countries around the world to implement similar requirements.
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The trip was planned by Ted Sarandos several weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Netflix CEO, his arrival came just a day after Israel’s government announced plans to dissolve itself and call for new elections. So the people in government who he speaks with may not be the decision makers anymore in just a few weeks from now. However, Sarandos can be expected to plead his case to the opposition leaders like Beaming Netanyahu as well.
Many countries have laws that require their own broadcasters to devote a minimum percentage of their programming to local programming. This is ordinarily done by smaller nations in an effort to promote local culture and to prevent what is mostly American content from being all that their people get to see on television.
But such laws sometimes backfire and lead to television schedules filled with cheaply produced programs and talk shows.
In Israel, legislation was proposed to require that foreign streaming services that operate in the country offer a minimum quota of local programs. The international streamers that have begun to offer their programming in Israel include Netflix, Apple Plus and Disney Plus. Disney only just rolled out its service last week with some highly publicized technical difficulties.
Israelis who look to see some of the more famous American television series that are offered on these streaming services in America, and even internationally in the past like the latest Star Trek series, cannot be streamed in Israel because one of the local channels already has the rights to broadcast the show. Even Disney Plus is not offering its full slate of programming to Israeli viewers. This has led to disappointment among many who have chosen not to pay for the streaming services.
As for Israeli programming, the irony here is that Netflix has already provided a wealth of Israeli television shows and movies to its Israeli viewers. Some of these shows were originally aired on either cable or satellite television, which most Israelis do not pay for.
These include comedies like “The Good Cop” and dramas like “Shtisel,” “Srugim” and the worldwide hit spy show “Fauda.”