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Support programmes

The EU supports two types of cultural industry: audiovisual and multimedia.

Audiovisual media and the cinema
As part of its audiovisual policy, and via the MEDIA programme set up in 1991 and its successors, the MEDIA II and MEDIA PLUS programmes, the EU wished to strengthen its audiovisual industry by providing it with the means to adapt to economic change, in particular the opening of markets and the dissemination of new technologies.

MEDIA is involved in the development, distribution and promotion of audiovisual works: it is at the development stage that choices are made concerning dissemination of the work in Europe, and it is via support for distribution and promotion that the EU can really help to structure the market in order to make it European or even global.
The MEDIA programme therefore does not provide support for audiovisual production as such, which remains the responsibility of Member States; instead, it takes supplementary measures upstream and downstream of production.

Another objective of the MEDIA programme is to promote the circulation of European works in countries other than the country of origin; this is done not only in order to expand audiovisual outlets but also to give Europeans the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of the cultures they share. As this approach is both economic and cultural, particular attention is paid, when implementing the programme, to countries and regions with low production capacity or a restricted linguistic area, and to works promoting heritage.

These efforts are supplemented by the training component of the MEDIA programme, which comes under the EU powers recognised by the Treaty (Article 150). The aim is to assist professionals in adapting to industrial change, help them to incorporate the European and international dimension into their activities and promote links between training bodies.

Multimedia content
Development of the Internet and electronic commerce is a global phenomenon. To take advantage of it in economic, social and cultural terms, Europe must produce, use and disseminate its own digital resources. To this end, the EU set up a programme in December 2000 called "European digital content on global networks" or eContent.
The aim of this programme is to increase the industrial competitiveness of the sectors concerned: the content holders (publishing, tourism and language industries) and the collectors and distributors of this content (information and telecommunications industries).

Designed to promote Internet use among Europeans, this programme encourages digital use of available information, particularly in the public sector, market structure and openness, cultural diversity and multilingualism on the Net.
It finances in particular projects bringing together manufacturers and public institutions which must set the course for the use of digital information in Europe. This involves taking account of linguistic and cultural diversity, SMEs' training and funding needs, and legal issues related to intellectual property.

Last update: 02-05-2007