Spain to force Netflix to offer content in Catalan, Basque and Galician

Spain to force Netflix to offer content in Catalan, Basque and Galician
Photo: Mollie Sivaram/Unsplash
Netflix, HBO and other streaming platforms will have to offer 6 percent of their content in Catalan, Basque and Galician as well as pay a new tax to fund productions in these co-official languages of Spain, according to a new audiovisual law by the Spanish government. 

If you’re looking to improve your listening comprehension skills in one of Spain’s co-official languages, even if it’s dubbed rather than original speech, this news may interest you.

A last-minute agreement between Catalonia’s ERC Republican Left party and the Spanish government for the 2022 budget law will force streaming platforms to offer at least 6 percent of their content in Catalan, Basque and Galician to viewers in Spain.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a huge rise in the number of film productions shot in the three regions of Spain where these languages are primarily spoken, as the co-official language requirement can be met by dubbing content rather than it being produced in the original language. 

Audiovisual content made in Spain, other European countries and the United States is expected to be dubbed.

In total, around 1,500 new and old series and films on Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, Filmin, AtresPlayer and other platforms will have an option to have the audio in Catalan, Basque or Galician.

There will also be a new audiovisual tax for these companies where 10 percent of proceeds will go to the production of series and films in these co-official languages, with the remainder going to Spanish and European content creation.

The draft law, which will have to be approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers before the end of the year, will require these platforms to offer subtitles in Catalan, Basque or Galician.

It also requires 15 percent of Spanish state broadcaster RTVE’s productions to be produced in these co-official languages.

In 2018, the European Union started requiring large streaming platforms have 30 percent of their content catalogue made up of European productions.

In Spain there are four co-official languages: Catalan (grouped together with Valencian and Balearic), Galician (Galego), Basque (also known as Euskera) and Occitan/Aranese, by far the least spoken of all. 

A 2019 Pew survey found that the languages ​​spoken at home in Spain were Spanish in 81 percent of households, Catalan in 8 percent of homes, Valencian in 4 percent, Galician in 3 percent, and Basque in 1 percent of homes, although 900,000 people reportedly know how to speak Euskera.

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