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Industry Report: European Policy

The Challenges of Creative Europe for Public Broadcasting Services


- A conference on how Creative Europe supports public broadcasting services was held at the European Parliament on 11 February

The Challenges of Creative Europe for Public Broadcasting Services

A conference on the challenges of Creative Europe for public broadcasting services was organised at the European Parliament by Silvia Costa, rapporteur for the Creative Europe framework programme, Michel Boyon, president of Eurovisioni, and Jean-Paul Philippot,CEO of RTBF and president of EBU.

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Creative Europe has specific calls for proposals for television programming and a budget for 2014 of €11.8 million for independent directors of television content. The idea behind it was to try to invert the current trend of a European Union that imports much more than it exports, especially as Europe possesses a number of products of excellence, such as Danish fiction. To respond to the call, the television drama production must involve at least three broadcasters and has to be distributed in three MEDIA countries. Creative Europe has also set the time limit after which the producer gets back ownership of the rights to seven or ten years.

Even though television programmes are still mainly produced and consumed in the same domestic market, fictions like Borgen or Burning Bush aptly demonstrate that a European type of fiction is emerging, and it has to be allowed sufficient space to flourish.

Public broadcasters are also included within the scope of the call for proposals for platforms, which is part of the Culture sub-programme. Furthermore, the cultural dimension of other European programmes, such as Horizon 2020 for research and COSME for small and medium enterprises, has been enhanced, a great achievement of the Cultural committee in the European Parliament.

We should not forget that European public television channels are important, because they ensure that three-quarters of their programming is made up of European content, as against 36% in the case of private channels. Furthermore, public television channels are an important way of supporting and promoting audio-visual production, protecting independence and pluralism of expression, the founding elements of cultural diversity. “Public broadcasters are the expression of values and an important aspect of the European social system,” affirmed MEP Silvia Costa.

Even though more and more is being done to achieve an integrated and fully converged audio-visual market – which is the subject of a Green Paper on the next step to be made by the EU – the European audio-visual industry remains fragile. This is even truer when it comes to audio-visual content for television, where co-productions are much rarer than in cinema. The closure of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, which put an end to Greek audio-visual production for television, is a sad reminder of this fragility.

“We have a lot of very good films, a very diverse film landscape, but the problem is that they are not seen and cannot be seen, because they are not understood. We need subtitling,” said MEP Doris Pack, who worked with Silvia Costa on Creative Europe. “The LUX Prize of the European Parliament was a great source of inspiration for us,” she added. “The films were subtitled in the 24 languages of the EU, and that gave them a much greater chance to circulate and to be seen. So we decided that specific provisions for the funding of subtitling had to be part of Creative Europe.”

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