Country Focus: Germany
Territoriality is the basis for the profitability of film productions
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The German Producers Alliance has expressed its considerable concern about the European Commission’s plans for the digital single market, which will abolish the principle of territoriality and will enforce transnational access to digital content. The German producers are appreciative of the fact that Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, emphatically rejects these plans. “I want to state clearly that I do not agree with the deliberations to overrule the territorial restrictions,” said Grütters, also Minister of State, at a meeting of the German Content Alliance. “The acquisition and sale of licences for single member states – such as those in the film business – also need to be possible in the future. Whoever wishes to introduce an obligation for Europe-wide licences is ignoring the economic realities and, furthermore, is creating unnecessary obstacles for small, active national or regional suppliers.”
The principle of territoriality ensures that the exploitation rights can be divided between the different countries. “This also applies to the online sector,” underlined Alexander Thies, chairman of the Producers Alliance board. “This is the basic condition necessary for successful marketing and therefore the economic efficiency and financial feasibility of film productions. If it is no longer possible to implement tailor-made distribution strategies for certain countries because anybody can access this content, the refinancing of our productions is going to become difficult or even impossible.”
The Producers Alliance, which represents more than 220 production companies in Germany, is pleased that it can rely on the Minister of State as a pragmatic partner in this case.