Country Focus: France
CNC: €663 million in backing for 2015
by Fabien Lemercier
- In an economic environment that is fairly strained for everyone, forcing the state to try to justify its expenditures in order to maintain a minimum of room for manoeuvre, the 2015 budget allocated to supporting the film, audiovisual and multimedia industries has emerged relatively unscathed. At a total of €663 million, it is nevertheless down 5% on the initial 2014 draft budget. On the other hand, the government has decided not to tax the CNC in order to boost the general state budget, as it had been prone to doing over the last few years, to the great displeasure of industry professionals.
The French system, based on a process of pooling together film and audiovisual distributors, thus encouraging reinvestment and promoting creation, sees the CNC directly receive three taxes, the income from which is then redistributed across the whole sector. A closer look at the 2015 budget reveals a forecast €134.4 million from the tax on cinema tickets (10.72% of the cost of a ticket and an estimated 195 million admissions for this year, which stands a good chance of being bettered), €475 million from television services (a figure that is down by €52.5 million compared to 2014, owing to strains on the advertising revenues, increased competition and audience fragmentation), and €21 million from the video and VoD sector (a sum that has fallen by €7 million, with the steady funds arising from the latter not yet constituting a sufficient source of growth to offset the reduction of the former’s contribution). In order to offset the overall fall in takings, the CNC will draw on its so-called “solidarity” reserves, which will total €33 million in 2015.
The budgetary picture is rounded off by a number of tax schemes, with an estimated €22.7 million for the Soficas (a group of companies that finance the film and audiovisual industries), which enable private individuals to invest in production (120 films – including 64 first or second features – and 32 audiovisual works benefitted from these schemes in 2013), as well as the cinema tax credits (estimated to be worth €65 million in 2015, including €18 million for the international tax credit), audiovisual tax credits (€72 million) and video-game tax credits (€8 million).
The government has outlined three main priorities for the CNC’s (chaired by Frédérique Bredin) activities in 2015: to support creation and cultural diversity, the competitiveness of the sector, and activity and employment. These guidelines will involve measures to consolidate the sector’s business network and strengthen its investment and export capacity, develop alternative sources of funding, set up new support for the legal provision of VoD (through a dual mechanism of automatic and selective aid), improve the transparency of inter-professional relationships and develop an audit policy, control costs (in particular by limiting public funding for films with a very high budget in terms of actor and/or writer-director fees), and persevere with the efforts to educate young people in the visual image (from nursery school right through to the end of secondary school) and to promote film heritage (through providing support to film libraries).