The European Audiovisual Observatory has released a study on film heritage works and their presence online. The study was commissioned by the European Union.

The Exploitation of Film Heritage Works in the Digital Era looks at the market challenges of film heritage works in the digital context. What presence in Video on Demand (VOD) catalogues? What visibility dio they gain amongst newly releases films? What key hurdles for their pan-European distribution?

One of the key findings of this study is that, to an extent, European film heritage faces similar challenges to those of European art-house films in general: securing a presence on VOD platforms, increasing the circulation at the European level, promoting non-national European films and developing the demand are common goals. Many of the problems faced by film heritage also concern European art-house films:

  •  European film heritage works tend to circulate poorly across Europe, even in the festival circuit;
  •  Theatrical re-releases of film heritage might help films to have access to VOD services, but this might not be enough as on the one side the market is fragmented and, on the other, a threshold catalogue size is needed to deal with the largest on-demand platforms;
  •  VOD cannot be dealt with completely separately from the other windows, both for economic and promotional reasons.

The study was presented during the Bologna festival "Il Cinema Ritrovato" with a dedicated European Film Forum focused on film heritage.

Full study: The Exploitation of Film Heritage Works in the Digital Era


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