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UNIC, FIAD and Europa Distribution share their takes on the MAAP report


- The three bodies have provided comments on the document, which outlines several key directions for the short- and long-term EC initiatives on a wide range of European audiovisual issues

UNIC, FIAD and Europa Distribution share their takes on the MAAP report

Last month, the European Parliament adopted its “Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: An Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation” report, compiled by Latvian MEP Dace Melbārde (see the news). Also known as MAAP, the document outlined several key directions for the short- and long-term EC initiatives on a wide range of European audiovisual issues and prompted mixed reactions within the European audiovisual industry.

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In its previous article, Cineuropa detailed the comments of FERA, Eurocinema and CEPI on the report. As a response to the MAAP report, UNIC, FIAD and Europa Distribution have also shared their takes with Cineuropa. We spoke with the heads of three organisations - UNIC CEO Laura Houlgatte, FIAD general secretary Robert Heslop and Europa Distribution managing director Christine Eloy - who underlined that the document represents “a big improvement on the European Commission’s proposals” and appreciated the European Parliament’s “emphasis on more traditional players” (such as distributors and exhibitors) as well as their crucial role in the future of the sector, especially during this delicate phase of recovery.

As regards accessing funds, the bodies called for lowered administrative barriers as well as more flexibility for applicants and, in particular, for “SMEs, which represent the vast majority of stakeholders in the sector”. The organisations also welcomed the fact that MAAP calls for a more holistic approach, and builds on the AVMS and Creative Europe – MEDIA to support access to and the circulation of works. Specifically, they asked for a “strengthened role of Creative Europe – MEDIA”, which “should endeavour to balance funding between the member states and between the different clusters and genres it supports”, while nurturing “an ecosystem of independent players as a key driver of diversity of creation”.

They also reaffirmed the prominence of European works, as “more visibility should be given to EU programmes and initiatives aimed at promoting the production and circulation of high-quality European works with international potential across the EU and beyond”.

Other positive aspects include the reference to tax policies to boost admissions, the call for the transparency of algorithms and recommender systems needed to ensure a “fairer presence of European works on online platforms”, the Commission’s request to conduct a study on the impact of VoD services, the ambition to implement “clear and legally binding measures to fight intellectual-property infringement”, and the Parliament’s concerns over the global online players’ “disproportionate economic power”, “their marketing ability to reach large audiences” and their “instances of predatory behaviour via unfair contractual conditions”.

UNIC, FIAD and Europa Distribution also approved MAAP’s emphasis on diversity and territorial exclusivity, the latter being considered vital to guarantee the film and audiovisual sectors’ “creativity, financing, freedom and long-term sustainability”. Finally, the three organisations praised their members’ resilience during the health crisis – especially when they received little support – but also stated their commitment to sharing their expertise: “We are happy to share input about how cinemas and distributors work to increase the circulation of works in the EU and increase access to works. On the latter, we believe that discoverability tools (focusing not only on titles, but also on services), film literacy and support for the promotion of works are essential. There are a lot of best-case practices out there, but in order to be implemented more widely, it does require funding.”

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