the EPC BOARD APPROVES SIX MEASURES FOR A HEALTHY ECONOMY POST-COVID
EPC CALLS FOR MEASURES FOR AN INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN AUDIOVISUAL LANDSCAPE POST COVID-19
The current crisis has accelerated the fundamental transformation of the European audiovisual market. Support and balanced measures are required in order to allow the European industry to adapt and evolve, maintaining its cultural and entrepreneurial diversity. This preserves the essence of what Europe stands for. We believe that, at this crucial point, the intervention of the European Union, through a variety of measures, is urgently required.
We are in favour of promoting and enhancing European champion works, produced in each European Country, that can compete with the works produced by large foreign-owned platforms. We need to support these champion works to help them reach European and international audiences. This is the best way of ensuring diversity of content, entrepreneurship, nurturing European filmmakers, and creating a healthy ecosystem.
This is the only way in which independent producers can compete in the new status quo and have the capacity to develop great stories, grow talent, strengthen their relationships with creative teams and create great works now, and in the future.
1. We call for the introduction of an investment obligation of 25% of the turnover of OTT services into European Works, of which 80% is reserved to independent production companies and at least 50% of which is dedicated to local content produced by independent producers. No part of the 25% investment obligation should be fulfilled through companies owned or controlled in whole or in part by the OTT streaming services making the investment.
2. We call for the implementation of a Best Practice Charter between independent producers and OTT services which includes the following:
1) the producers should retain the ownership of their IP rights.
2) the producers should receive a fair remuneration for their work and for the transfer or license of their exclusive rights to the OTT service.
3) the producers should receive a share of revenues linked to the success of their work.
4) the producer’s creative role should be fully respected.
5) there should be an obligation on data transparency on the OTT streaming services.
3. We call for the creation of an EU funded Project Development Fund dedicated to independent producers that helps develop projects which have the highest level of quality and international potential.
For European independent producers to better compete, the best tool is to have great works, and in order to be able to do that, capital is required to acquire IP and develop it independently.
4. We call for the creation of a European Co-Production Fund to foster European Film and TV series co-productions within the independent model, replicating and adding to the existing model of Eurimages for features films, and aimed at fostering high end quality co-productions channeled through the independent producers. We also propose the relaxation of the 60% State Aid intensity limit in the case of coproductions in order to incentivise multi-country financing.
5. We call for the development of a new EU funded online distribution tool for European content, that offers a flexible and fair model for independent European audiovisual works, enabling independent and diverse content to reach audiences whilst increasing competition by offering producers an alternative route to reach consumers different to that of the foreign owned OTT services.
6. We call for the creation of a Covid-19 EU Guarantee/Insurance Fund for cross-border film and TV (co)-productions.
european audiovisual industry appealing to european commission and member states governments re: CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
The European Audiovisual Industry, one of the largest cultural industries in Europe by revenue, GDP contribution and numbers employed, is the main guarantor of cultural diversity and creativity in Europe.
This industry is made up largely of small companies and both creative and technical freelancers making it very fragile in the Corona crisis.
The spreading lockdown has resulted in closing of cinemas and shootings cancelled or interrupted across all of Europe.
This lockdown results in immediate cancellation of hundreds of productions in shootings phases, disruption in cashflow and the to-be-expected bankruptcies of production companies.
As a domino effect, it will impact the industry as a whole: all creators-freelancers with no job tomorrow nor any social security: technical suppliers, advertisement agencies, publicity agents, theatres, altogether millions of employees.
All this will happen very fast and will cause an irreversible breach in European audiovisual creativity with dramatic consequences that are difficult to overestimate, especially since the duration of the suspension period is yet unknown.
In order to prevent this situation, we propose 10 measures to apply immediately:
• Projects in distribution:
Hundreds of finished European films and series are facing release cancellations or release delays, despite already having incurred considerable expenditures on these releases.
We propose therefore:
1. To set up a European and state scheme to compensate all stakeholders of impacted releases of European Audiovisual content including producers and distributors, for losses from reduced Box Office revenues, presales not fulfilled, as well as promotion campaigns spent fully or partially;
2. To enhance the release of cinema films through online platforms allowing for fair economic compensation to the producers and distributors of the film through liberalization of all regulations pertaining to media chronology and all other requirements needed to access public funding based on box office revenues and numbers of cinemas. This is particularly relevant as online distribution and consumption can greatly benefit the millions of people who are in isolation.
• Projects in preproduction and production:
Aimed at European films and series already in preproduction or already shooting:
3. That national governments emergency Funds will be established and free interest loans will be provided to cover the costs of the payment of freelance personnel, cast, crew and suppliers.
4. That European and state guarantees will be provided for insurance companies to cash back insurance claims due to suspension of production and to cover all producers’ coronavirus related risks forthwith so that productions can start as soon as it was possible.
5. That financiers, broadcasters and platforms shall release producers from contractual deadlines and extend the validity of their financing decisions until the suspension period is over and where broadcasters or platforms are the main funders, for them to cover the costs of the suspension period from their obligatory production contribution quota;
6. That authorities shall delay tax, social security and other direct or indirect taxes both related to the shooting and to the production company; and shall cause the suspension of repayment of loans taken by producers in state and commercial banks.
• Projects in development:
7. To organise for public funding systems to maintain business as usual, without interruption, online if needed, and to provide increased development funding that secures stability for the project development teams;
8. To encourage both public and commercial broadcasters and OTT platforms enjoying our audiovisual creativity to continue and increase development activities in solidarity with the industry to be ready for a quick and efficient getting back on track.
9. To promote valuable content productions (positive, educational, health, optimistic) in commensurate variety to help audience cope with the confinement and stress.
• Sustainability of creative works:
10. To promote the acquisition by broadcasters and platforms of library productions of all European producers with a fair economic compensation to fill the gaps that the lockdown of cinemas, lockdown of productions combined with the increased online use will generate.