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Apple TV+ is on the hunt for European shows to meet EU requirements

Apple TV+ logo
Apple TV+ logo (Image credit: Apple TV+)

What you need to know

  • New EU rules will require 30% of content be from Europe.
  • Apple TV+ currently has no European content.
  • Talks are already underway to rectify that.

Apple TV+ won't be here for another month but it's already hunting for new shows. This time it needs European shows in order to meet new rules introduced by the European Commission.

While those rules haven't been finalized yet they're expected to come into force towards the end of 2020. If things go as expected, content streamers will need to offer shows produced in Europe to the tune of at least 30% of its catalog. It's not clear yet quite how that 30% will be measured, but it's expected to be a concern for both Apple TV+ and Disney+.

While Variety notes that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are already close to the 30% mark, that isn't the case for Apple TV+ or Disney+. The former doesn't have any European shows on its books as yet, although negotiations are said to already be underway with producers.

European titles in negotiation to join Apple TV's pipeline include "Faceless," a thriller produced by France's Leonis and Britain's Artists Studio and co-written by Virginie Brac ("Spiral"), and an English-language period series also produced between Britain and France. Apple also has an animated show in development with Gaumont.

Apple does have an advantage compared to Disney+, too. With so few shows available at launch it won't need to add too many to meet its quota. Disney+ by contrast has around 1,000 titles with only 4.7% being European. That leaves it a long way to go to reach 30%.

After months of waiting Apple TV+ arrives on November 1st and will cost $4.99 per month. Anyone who buys an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac will get a free year of service, too.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • "New EU rules will require 30% of content be from Europe." the problem with big govt. Let the people pick what they want. What if the NA had a law that said 30%, then same with Oceania, Asia, Africa and SA. 30+30+30+30+30+30=180%>100% which means it's impossible to cover everything. Let the people decide. I don't use ChineseSpyingCompany* (Huawei)'s streaming service because there isn't much English content, let alone their spying. I guess the EU feels it can mandate content since they don't have freedom of speech** (or in this case freedom from compelled speech). *The Chinese govt has started a policy where they get to appoint people into jobs at companies. Yeah, nothing bad about that. **As long as it's not a call to action, we can say anything because when the govt is deciding what you can say, you'll become Canada with - if that was in the US, a certain politician would be jailed for her "Never Forget" Instagram video.
  • Doesn't it mean that people _can_ actually watch what they want? The problem is sometimes these services can be flooded with American content, and that becomes more of a problem for countries where English isn't the first language, not everyone wants to watch dubbed/subbed shows. Apple News doesn't even support any other languages than English and how long has it been out? Siri took a while to get other languages and I think HomePod doesn't support all the Siri languages yet, and Google are constantly releasing services that are US only. American companies sometimes seem to forget that the rest of the world exists, and it's a real problem, even if it's a first-world one
  • Why don't you let the people decide then? The govt can't choose for you. I don't like subs either, so instead of limiting/forcing speech, why doesn't the EU just, you know, sponsor home-grown content? I'm fine if a company wants to put out more EU content, but not when they're forced to by a govt. Siri and Homepod are different because, last I checked, English is the main language in the world, with Spanish as second. I think those two were available right out the gate. Another reason it was delayed elsewhere was govt regulations. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on any of this, and the EU can easily sponsor their own EU-TV or something instead of forcing a company from another country to do something.
  • There is no limiting speech. 30% of content having to be from Europe doesn't mean there will be less American shows, it just means that the more American shows added, the more European shows will need to be added as well, and that's great for everyone. Not sure what you mean by "main" language, English is the international language, but it's not the primary language in every country, which is why Apple News is only available in Australia, US, Canada and the UK. HomePod follows the same principle, it only releases in countries where the primary language is one that the HomePod supports. HomePod is actually releasing in other countries now as it supports more languages, the bigger problem is Apple News where there is literally only English. People primarily learn English so that two countries where the primary language isn't English, can communicate with each other, not so they can watch Breaking Bad without subtitles. English and Spanish were chosen because Spanish is the second most popular language in the United States, although as far as Trump is concerned, the Spanish language doesn't exist, given he removed the Spanish version of The White House website