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Cinema and Competition


- The CNC report on French distribution & exhibition suggests a number of ways to keep the industry in good health

The report commissioned by the National Film Centre into cinema and competition was made public on 30 January. It was compiled by a specially appointed 14-man commission that included producers Philippe Carcassone (Ciné B), Jean-Michel Rey of Rezo Films and distributors like Alain Sussfeld, the MD of the UGC Group, as well as other representatives of the French film industry. They suggested a number of possible solutions to the current problems of market saturation.
Firstly, that the CNC compile regular reports and present the to the competent French authority regarding alleged cases of unfair competition. The CNC Report also suggested ways of slowing down the frenetic rotation of theatrical programming by obliging exhibitors to keep a given film up for a pre-determined period of time, and thus hopefully prevent the market from becoming saturated with too many titles released contemporaneously. The pre-set programming period would take into account a number of factors like seating capacity, the location of the cinema and the number of prints the film was released in.
The report called for industry operators to set up and enforce their own code of good professional conduct.
It also suggested that there be closer collaboration between exhibitors and the other networks and channels that release or broadcast films and gave the recent joint ventures between StudioCanal and Bac Films, M6’s having acquired control over the SND, and the synergy between TF1 and Miramax that resulted in the creation of TFM as examples to follow.
Similar strategies take into account the problems that independent distributors have in accessing foreign films. They are an important instrument of leverage since the sale of rights to these films allows the independents to take risks and distribute French films.
The CNC committee stressed the importance of greater involvement by the European Commission in the European film industry, to enforce the principle that films are the results of intellectual creativity and should not be handled as if they were ordinary consumer products. The committee also called for the EU to formulate a single policy regarding state aid for cinema that reaffirms the principle of the French cultural exception, prior to the scheduled review of current directives in 2004.

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(Translated from French)

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