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SVOD funding of film and audiovisual creations begins to take shape in France


- Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and other platforms will be obliged to spend 20 – 25% of their turnover in France on national and European production

SVOD funding of film and audiovisual creations begins to take shape in France

Just as French cinemas are preparing to close their doors for a second time, from 30 October to 1 December, on account of the health crisis (though film shoots themselves will be allowed to continue), some good news has just filtered through to soften this grimace-inducing blow for the French film industry. Indeed, the decree on the transposition of Europe’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which specifies the funding obligations to be placed on SVOD platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Apple, etc.) vis-a-vis French and European productions, has finally been published.

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These platforms will have to invest in French and European audiovisual creations based upon a rate of either 25%, 22.5% or 20% of their net turnover in France in the previous year, depending on the position they wish to enjoy within the country’s media chronology system (the film exploitation windows which are allotted to the various distribution supports: cinemas, VOD, on demand TV, pay TV and SVOD). Opting for a rate of 25% will allow operators to broadcast a work within 13 months of its release in French cinemas, 22.5% will grant them access to a work 13 – 25 months after its release in France, while a rate of 20% will allow them access after this period. Where a service’s tax base is difficult to define, such as in the case of Amazon Prime Video (which also includes deliveries), it will fall to the French Broadcasting Authority, the CSA (Audiovisual Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel), to determine this figure in an agreement negotiated with the SVOD operator (though in the event that the two parties fail to reach an agreement, the sum will be calculated based upon net turnover in France for the operator’s full range of services).

At least 20% of each platform’s investment obligations should go towards film production (given that platforms are naturally fonder of audiovisual productions such as series), for which the CSA will need to draw up diversity clauses (linked to budget sizes, for example, to ensure platforms don’t only favour bigger productions) in agreements with each of the SVOD operators.

75% of each platform’s contributions should be directed towards independent film producers and 66% towards their audiovisual counterparts (co-production shares excluded). Rights will be limited to 12 months for independent film production and to 36 months for independent audiovisual production.

Furthermore, original French-language works will account for 85% of these platforms’ investments in the film and audiovisual world.

In the case of films, prefinancing should account for at least 75% of platforms’ investments where the latter have chosen to position themselves at the 25% funding rate, for 66% where they’re contributing at a rate of 22.5%, and 50% for those at 20%.

The text, which also sets out a raft of finer, technical details (eligible expenditure, etc.) and supposedly paves the way for estimated annual investments of €200m - €300m, further envisages a reform of media chronology windows in France. This will form the focus of interprofessional negotiations, which the French government will intervene in should an agreement not be reached within six months.

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(Translated from French)

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