Europe looks to boost the distribution of European works by way of co-productions
by Thierry Leclercq
- Having assembled on 23 May in Strasbourg, European ministers representing the audiovisual industry are now asking funding bodies to place a focus on co-productions
The text detailing the “conclusions” adopted by the European Ministers of Culture highlights the many advantages of co-productions, in both financial terms and regarding distribution. "Co-productions show what great potential there is for distributing works across the European region", summarised the Romanian Minister for Culture, Daniel Breaz, who presided over the gathering. According to figures collated by the European Audiovisual Observatory, between 2005 and 2014, co-productions accounted for 24% of European productions and over half of worldwide admissions relating to European films.
As such, ministers are proposing to boost the diffusion of European works, both within the EU and non-member country markets, by encouraging industry players to enter into co-productions. A number of direct measures are proposed in order to incentivise this move: for instance, a number of legal and administrative hurdles could be removed if the various obligations imposed by the regional, national and European funds were to be streamlined and subject to harmonisation. These bodies could also envisage financial support systems open to minority co-productions. Online services could share their audience data with rightsholders to allow them to better understand their viewing public. The MEDIA programme, meanwhile, could look into new funding options for co-productions, as well as measures which will improve their visibility and distribution. It could provide support to "creative workshops or writing workshops where producers, writers and directors can work together on the development of co-productions".
Ministers also believe that indirect measures could work to create "a lasting ecosystem for co-productions”; measures such as the provision of support for professional training and networking initiatives, support for promotion and cross-border distribution - primarily by way of dubbing/subtitling wherever possible, support for the development of the European film repertoire which was launched in April this year, etc.
The Council of Ministers is currently waiting on the concrete recommendations of a group of national experts on audiovisual sector co-productions, who were appointed within the framework of the 2019-2022 Work Plan for Culture. According to their roadmap, they will have to assess the matter while taking into account the many different factors involved (public and private funding, the role of distributers and VOD platforms, non-EU country partnerships...).
(Translated from French)
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