Country Focus: Spain
PROA stokes dispute over TV investment in film
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- The producers’ association PROA has added fire to the debate over the substantial reduction in TV companies’ obligation to invest in cinema, laid out in the draft bill of the General Law of Audiovisual Communication, which is in its final phase of approval, by stating that the new text “violates the rights of independent producers as well as European regulations”.
Up to now, this obligation, which has caused conflict between private TV networks and producers since its introduction in 1999, stated that TV companies had to invest 5% of their income from the previous year in film production. The new addition in the draft bill, which is currently in the hands of the Senate and which the Government would like to see come into force before the analogue blackout on April 3, is the inclusion of drama series as part of the said investment, although they cannot account for more than 40% of the total.
In short, the new text cuts the share of investment in film to 3%, since it is difficult to imagine that television companies will invest in films instead of the much more profitable series (proof of this lies in the fact that they already produce series without any obligation to do so).
According to PROA, the inclusion of series, which “are already guaranteed financing and distribution opportunities", is "a sad exception in favour of the interests of television networks”. Moreover, it points out that countries such as France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Sweden do not include series in the investment made by television companies.
Of the same opinion is Pedro Pérez, president of FAPAE, the main Federation of Spanish Producers’ Associations, who commented a few weeks ago to Cineuropa that it is “only reasonable that private television networks, which take up 100% of advertising revenue since RTVE stopped showing advertisements in January, should be required to reinvest in the domestic film industry”.