30-04-2020

Polish Government Proposes Levy on Streaming Giants To Support Local Film Industry

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WARSAW: The Polish government has proposed a levy on streaming giants as a part of its anti-crisis shield that was submitted to the Parliament this week for approval.

The proposed levy on VoD platforms and streaming services of 1.5% on local revenue from commercials and membership fees would include streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon. Small streamers would be exempt from the levy. The money raised would go to the Polish Film Institute as part of the current measures to support the film industry which has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID crisis.

The government proposal must be passed by both chambers of the Parliament and signed by the president before becoming law.

According to an analysis on the impact of the proposal published this week the new levy would raise about 15m PLN / 3.2m EUR in 2020 and 20m PLN / 4.3m EUR annually in future.

The analysis lists the anticipated payers of the new levy with Netflix expected to be the biggest payer, followed by Poland’s biggest Internet TV service IPLA. Amazon and Apple TV+ are ranked fourth and sixth on the list. Most of the top streaming giants who have operations in Poland have so far declined to comment on the proposals for the new levy.

Wolfgang Laskowski, CDA VOD platform spokesperson, commented, “It is difficult to imagine a situation where only local broadcasters registered in Poland have to pay, and major global players do not. And taxing revenues generated in Poland by companies such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon or Rakuten could be very difficult to implement.”

Jacek Bromski, the President of the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP), said that the proposals amount to "a normalisation of the situation in which platform owners have used the repertoire of Polish filmmakers without any royalties or essentially no tax. (...)". He added that it is important to support the industry during the COVID crisis.

According to estimates of the European Audiovisual Observatory on the turnover of VoD platforms in Poland last year Netflix recorded revenues of 94.3 m EUR / 429.31 m PLN, Ipla (owned by Cyfrowy Polsat) - 268.88m PLN, Player.pl (TVN Discovery Group) 102.03m PLN, Amazon offers, among others, Prime Video service 44.39m PLN, CDA - 38.7m PLN, and Apple - 290 400 PLN.

In parallel to the new anti-crisis levy measures the Polish government continues to work with the rest of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on a global approach to taxing tech companies.