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MEDIA pushes the boundaries with its new Creative Europe programme

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- The overhauled programme provides almost a doubled budget and better accessibility, and imposes new obligations

MEDIA pushes the boundaries with its new Creative Europe programme

The new Creative Europe programme is getting a major budget boost after the European Parliament agreed to significantly increase resources for the programme. From 2021-2027, the Creative Europe programme will have a total budget of €2.5 billion, which is an increase of almost €1 billion. A total of €1.4 million is dedicated exclusively to the MEDIA programme.

With this sizeable increase in the budget also comes a huge responsibility. “We need to address the dramatic impact that COVID-19 has had on our industries. The cultural and creative sectors were amongst the industries that were hit the hardest by the crisis,” said Lucía Recalde, Head of Unit, Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes. At an online event hosted by the MEDIA Desks of Germany, Luxembourg and Austria, she gave an initial insight into the new structure of the MEDIA programme. “The main challenge for us will be to use this significant increase to address the recovery and the transformation of the industry,” underlined Recalde. The European Commission set two priorities: the digital transformation and the climate transformation. “We need to strike a balance between recovery and transformation in the next six-and-a-half years.”

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The European Commission has set the objective for 30% of the funding to be spent on climate-related actions. “That is an obligation”, stressed Recalde. “We would like to incentivise changes before we choose mandatory obligations. We want to couple incentives with a lot of good practices and awareness-raising activities so that those who are starting can learn from those who are more advanced.”

Other essential parameters of the programme will also be to widen the ecosystem, to provide greater accessibility and to support cooperation. “Diversity is a message. We want to make the programme more open to groups that haven’t participated in it,” the head of Creative Media outlined. “The challenge is to put all of the different objectives in the best possible format. The contribution to gender equality, inclusiveness and the Green Deal has to be implemented – that is an opportunity.”

The first calls will be launched at the beginning of June. “We promote linguistic variety. The calls will be available in all of the languages,” said Barbara Gessler, Head of Unit, Creative Europe. “The scope of where organisations see their project fitting in will become larger.” In order to foster cooperation, one particular priority will be co-creation. Social innovation will also be an important topic. After all, “Innovation is not only a technological term,” as Kessler emphasised.

MEDIA will be built on the assets that have worked well so far and which should be improved further. The programme will be structured into clusters such as content, audience and business, as well as transformation. One main novelty in the content clusters is the requirement for co-development as a kind of added value to foster collaboration even more intensely. There will also be some development activity tailor-made with certain groups of countries in order to broaden the participation of nations that previously had more difficulty accessing MEDIA funding. Furthermore, video-game actions will be broadened towards immersive content.

The 360-degree business cluster will be implemented in 2022. “That is a simplification action,” said Recalde. “We are primarily thinking about beneficiaries that were really successful. Now, we would like to channel this support into one single grant.” Another new action is called Tools, which should take advantage of the benefits of digital technologies for the audiovisual industry. On the audience side, there will also be a stronger focus on collaboration involving VoD platforms and the festival network. Last but not least, the cross-sectorial strand will provide support for the news media sector. The aim is to support media literacy and journalist partnerships. “We also want to bring together audiovisual communities and other creative sectors,” concluded Recalde.

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