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Industry Report: Digital

Digital rights of audiovisual makers in US and Europe


- Both digitisation and globalisation are changing how members of the audiovisual labour market operate worldwide

Digital rights of audiovisual makers in US and Europe

Both digitisation and globalisation are changing how members of the audio-visual labour market, known in this chapter as makers, operate worldwide. In Europe, individuals face restrictions on their content when attempting to engage with global distribution platforms. In the United States, a highly-trained, over competitive market threatens potential income for makers. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, resulting in a more nomadic workforce, location-based initiatives lose significance and importance. In Europe, this means makers are moving their businesses to countries which provide the best funding support. Similarly, United States based makers are partnering with European producers to benefit from national film funding organisations intended for European makers.

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As mentioned, issues arise with how European makers distribute their content. Since national broadcasters often fund projects, while claiming co-production rights, this limits a maker’s’ ability to work with platforms like Netflix. Many makers find it difficult to negotiate for more rights without supplying their own financial resources. Although Netflix does not provide a perfect solution and usually pays a small flat fee in exchange for content, makers increasingly value any platform which offers distribution outside of a single territory. There is much tension between the nationalistic position of film funding organisations and demands from makers as a result of digitisation. Most individuals would favour any solution which acknowledges their desire for greater global exposure.

These are just some of the findings of an exploratory qualitative research project carried out by Jacob McPherson as an internship for the MA Arts and Society programme at Utrecht University. The research is also related to a project conducted by HTH Research and commissioned by the Dutch Portal for Audiovisual Makers (PAM), which is explained below.

Read the whole report here.

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