Danish producers are sounding the alarm over disputes with streamers estimated to cost the industry $200 million

The Danes may have outperformed the French in colliding with streamers. The Danish Producers’ Association and Create Denmark, the guild that represents writers, actors and directors, among others, have been locked in a bitter dispute over fees and rights with local and global streaming services like Netflix and Viaplay since January.

While Viaplay signed a temporary agreement over the summer that will last until December, other services including Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Amazon Prime have stopped developing or producing Danish content entirely since January. The estimated lost revenue for the country is around $200 million, according to Lene Børglum, a leading Danish producer, whose credits include Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” and “Copenhagen Cowboy,” which Netflix found well before the dispute began had ordered . The series had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Netflix admitted it had to halt Danish orders back in June, with a statement that said: “It is with a heavy heart that we write to you that as of today and until further notice we will not be able to order or develop any new Danish films or series we faced in clearing rights with the Danish unions.”

With dozens of titles in limbo for almost a year, many Danish producers who have relied on streamers for a steady flow of commissions for years are becoming increasingly concerned. An open letter published by Nordisk Film and TV Fond was signed by several prominent companies, including Miso Film (“The Rain”), SAM Productions (“Borgen”), Apple Tree Productions, Nordisk Film and SF Studios, in which the Danes urged become unions to find a compromise with streamers.

The letter said: “2022 was a disastrous year for the Danish film and TV series business. Worst ever. And 2023 could be even worse. From being one of the most prolific and leading countries in the development and production of high-quality series and films to streaming services and broadcasters, we are now at a point.”

“The long-term consequences if this situation continues could be more severe than any of us would wish. A decimation of half the industry is not unrealistic,” the letter continued.

According to Børglum, the alarming situation is also blocking Danish broadcaster TV2’s commissions as the pubcaster increasingly seeks to buy linear and streaming rights. Regarding Viaplay, she says the agreement is only valid until the end of the year and has only allowed existing orders to go into production, not new projects. “Streamers can live in Denmark without us, but we need them and it is in our interest to find an agreement with them, as other countries in Europe have done,” Børglum continues.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/global/danish-producers-alarm-dispute-streamers-1235381565/ Danish producers are sounding the alarm over disputes with streamers estimated to cost the industry $200 million

Charles Jones

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