The world mapped out by French exporters
by Fabien Lemercier
06/12/2011 - With €74m, i.e. 42.9% of the takings garnered by French international sellers in 2010, Western Europe is still the number one buying region for French films according to the annual study by the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC) (see news about the overall results). Next in line are North America (27.7% of takings), Central and Eastern Europe (10.2%), Asia (9.5%), Latin America (3.2%) and the Middle East (2.3%).
In Western Europe, Germany remains the biggest market for French films with €19.3m (11.2% of total export revenue), despite a 12.5% slump in sales takings in 2010. French companies consider it to be one of the rare markets that is still lucrative for the sale of DVD rights and where, despite a sharp drop, television rights can be negotiated for decent prices. However, the gradual disappearance of TV slots is a cause for concern.
The United Kingdom and Ireland account for €10.5m in takings (6.1%) with a sharp increase at 35.6%, but exporters still see this as a complex market with limited sales and low prices. Next in line is Belgium, a strong partner with €8.2m in takings at +60.9%. Italy clocks in next with €7.97m and an impressive recovery at +49.9% after years of falling figures. Compared with 2005, takings from this country have been cut by three and French exporters point to a drastic fall in prices on a difficult market for “average” films.
Spain generated €7.69m in takings at +44.8% with quite a wide network of distributors including the new and popular A Contracorriente. TV networks are starting to buy films again, but the video market is bleak.
Next in line are the grouped sales for the whole of Benelux (€6.1m at +34.8%) and Scandinavia (€5m at +4%), which is noted for having a good network of distributors. Finally, Switzerland (€3.8m at -4%) is seen as a tightly closed market, leaving little room for small companies, with extremely rare pre-sales that tie acquisitions to a film’s success in France.
What is also striking are the lacklustre takings from Greece (€2.6m at -1%) and the fall in sales to Portugal (-14.4% at €1.7m) and the Netherlands (€1.1m at -33.4%).
In Central and Eastern Europe, which is dominated by the Russian market (€7.5m at +18.2%), takings from sales in Poland (€3.95m at +57.5%) in 2010 reached their highest level since the study was set up in 2004. Sales of French films also rose for the third year in a row in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia (€1.7m at +16.2%), while they continued to decline in Hungary (-23.1% at €0.8m), more or less getting back to their 2003 level in a troubled market with a monopolistic movie theatre network and TV channels that no longer buy French films.
As for the rest of the world, there has been a meteoric increase in takings from North America (+55%), which went up for the third consecutive year. According to French exporters, the United States is a dynamic market for auteur films and one of the rare territories where there is already a demand for foreign content on VOD.
Finally, after several years of decline, exports to Asia are picking up again (+55.7%), with sales having bounced back in Japan in particular (€10.2m at +71.8%), while China remains hesitant (+60.4% at €0.8m).
(Translated from French)