Country Focus: France
New agreement between Canal + and film associations
by Fabien Lemercier
21/12/2009 - A pillar of French film financing, the Canal Plus group has renewed for five years its agreement with France’s professional film associations. It has pledged to invest 12.5% of its annual turnover in European films, including 10% in features of French original expression (compared to a respective 12% and 9% in the previous agreement).
This increased investment was negotiated in return for greater flexibility in terms of non-linear broadcasting via catch-up television (opportunity to re-watch films on demand for seven days after their broadcasting). For French films, it includes a 0.5% success bonus for works that have reached 500,000 admissions in theatres.
Clearly intending to refocus on production, Canal+ did not, on the other hand, wish to renew its funding for exhibition (€13.5m per year) and distribution (€6.5m), claiming that it mostly benefited major networks. The latter are in very good health with French audience figures for 2009 expected to reach a record of 200m.
Canal would like to set up a foundation endowed with €7m per year intended exclusively for independent exhibitors and distributors, which have been worse hit by the film sector’s current economic situation.
The agreement was signed by the ARP (Civil Society of Authors-Directors-Producers), the APC (Film Producers Association), the SPI (Independent Producers Union), the SDI (Independent Distributors Union) and DIRE (United European Independent Distributors).
In 2008, Canal Plus invested €173.9m in 142 accredited French features (125 French initiative films and 17 minority co-productions).