We have a large offer of television channels and online services in the EU, and a very high number of films and TV series produced every year. But these works do not travel well within our Single Market.
Consumers, producers, distributors, broadcasters, video on demand platforms and other interested parties – We need to bring everyone around the table to make audiovisual content more widely available across the EU and help the industry to reach broader audiences, all while safeguarding creativity and production.
That is the purpose of the dialogue launched today with members of the European Parliament, producers, distributors, broadcasters, Video-on-Demand services, film funds and consumer organisations
The first round of discussions today – announced in our Media and Audiovisual Action Plan – was very constructive and balanced.
There are two main issues I want us to address together.
First, there are important differences in the choice and diversity of audiovisual content offered to European consumers. While there are 20 Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services in Germany, there are 10 such services in France, Spain and Italy, and only 5 in Romania and Poland. On each of these services, consumers can find on average more than 2000 European (EU27) films in Germany, and only 87 in Romania.
Second, audiovisual works do not travel well in the EU. This is particularly true for European films and series. Currently, on average they are only available in 3 Member States on video on demand services, while US content is offered in at least 5 Member States. This represents an untapped potential for European producers and distributors. Furthermore, in most cases, consumers cannot access audiovisual services offered in other Member States.
With this dialogue, we can achieve better results together.
The purpose of the dialogue is to agree on a common objective, by defining specific targets to make audiovisual works more widely available to citizens across Member States and to help the European audiovisual industry reach broader audiences.
To achieve these targets, we need to identify concrete solutions that are able to both increase the number and the diversity of audiovisual works available in each Member State, and facilitate consumers’ access to content across Member States.
I am confident we can find win-win solutions that are beneficial to both the industry and consumers..
With this dialogue, we are not putting into question the fundamentals of existing production and distribution mechanisms, which are important to ensure the financing of high-quality and diverse audiovisual works. Within the existing framework, we need to identify together concrete solutions and initiatives which can make a difference when we look at the audiovisual works offered to consumers across the EU. Several ideas, which we will further explore, were already proposed today at the roundtable. This dialogue today at European level is especially relevant as we are in the middle of a profound transformation of the sector after an unprecedented sanitary crisis that has deeply affected the entire audiovisual ecosystem.
To respond to these challenges, we have to act as a continent. It is important that European audiovisual companies consider the European Union as their native market, as their natural launchpad for growth.
This means to fully exploit the opportunities that a market of nearly 450 million consumers could offer to European audiovisual companies. This does not mean that all films and audiovisual works should be blockbusters, but we want to help the diversity of the films and audiovisual works that are produced each year to find their audiences.
On our side, we will support innovative production and distribution companies in this effort to grow with the launch of MEDIA INVEST, a dedicated equity investment platform. It will mobilise EUR 400 million of investment by 2027. The objective of this new fund is to enable independent producers and distributors to leverage their global ambitions.
The roundtable that took place today is only the start of an inclusive and transparent process.
After the roundtable, as of early November, we will organise several stakeholder meetings with the interested EU-level associations representing the different segments of the sector, as well as consumers.
We will ask them to bring the expertise of their members, to share good practices, and look for new ideas.