Europa Distribution writes a letter to Oettinger
by Claire La Combe
- The distribution network says: “A single European online market endangers independent European distributors”
In a letter addressed to Günther Oettinger, the politician in charge of the Digital Single Market (DSM), Europa Distribution attempts to clarify with the European Commission issues relating to the industry and the planned changes to copyright and digital-access rules. The network calls for a sustainable solution in order to protect independent distributors and, indeed, the whole European audiovisual ecosystem.
The letter focuses on explaining why distributors play a key role in the circulation and financing of European films. “Independent distributors create demand and engage audiences (...) [They] invest in [film] curation, promotion, subtitling, dubbing and selling.” Distributors have taken on the role of being the hubs of expertise on local audiences.
And in the current audiovisual environment, Europa Distribution stresses the fact that the industry is mainly made up of small and medium-sized enterprises that are the first to take on a huge amount of risk in order to release films across a maximum number of formats. “In order to strengthen cultural diversity and enhance the circulation of European works, it is important to guarantee access to all [of them], not only the most commercial and profitable ones,” the letter continues. With the arrival of the digital age, the network is in favour of portability but is against the suppression of geo-blocking barriers. The latter would limit the recoupment and remuneration of traditional distributors and would thus threaten an important part of the film-financing model.
As was the case with the recent European filmmakers’ call made in Rome in early April, Europa Distribution is asking the Commission (via Creative Europe) and member states for more support for different platforms and the creation of plans for new distribution initiatives.
As the MEPs from the Committee on Culture are meeting Commissioner Andrus Ansip (vice-president for the Digital Single Market) today, 27 April– the last meeting before the announcement of the Commission's strategy on the DSM – the letter sent by Europa Distribution makes a final request for a “positive and constructive dialogue” with the European institutions and other stakeholders.