The path to i2i Audiovisual
At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, the heads of state set a new goal for the EU: "to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world".
The European Council called on "the Community and the Member States, with the support of the EIB, to make available in all European countries low cost, high-speed interconnected networks for Internet access and foster the development of state-of-the-art information technology and other telecom networks as well as the content for those networks".
To this end, the EIB therefore launched an initiative - Innovation 2000 - to foster investment in information technology, R&D, innovation, competitiveness and human capital.
The preparatory action
In 2001, the Commission launched a preparatory action "Growth and Audiovisual: i2i Audiovisual" to complement the EIB Group initiative. Implemented by the MEDIA Unit, the initiative facilitates access to credit facilities for film and audiovisual production companies. It provides a grant towards the guarantees required by banks, etc., and/or credit.
Help is available for three types of costs:
- filming insurance (module 1),
- performance guarantee (module 2)
- financial costs (module 3).
A mid-term evaluation of i2i called for i2i to be integrated into the MEDIA Plus Programme. This happened in 2004. The financial support granted under i2i audiovisual amounted to EUR 2.7 million in 2004 and EUR 1.6 million in 2005. The budget for i2i in 2006 was €1.4 million.
Evaluation of i2i
The evaluation of the i2i initiative carried out half way through the MEDIA Plus Programme (2001-2003) illustrated how useful it was. It can help bridge the gap between the interest rates applied to micro-enterprises and those available to larger businesses. It has also helped reduce the cost of performance guarantees. The evaluation highlighted the need for policies to encourage private investment in the European audiovisual sector.