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CANNES 2023 Marché du Film

The European Media Industry Outlook is unveiled at Cannes


- CANNES 2023: The comprehensive report by the European Commission offers insights into the continent’s media industry, focusing on trends, technology and consumer behaviour

The European Media Industry Outlook is unveiled at Cannes
l-r: Bastien Remy, Lucia Recalde and Sten-Kristian Saluveer during the panel discussion

The European Media Industry Outlook is a comprehensive report recently released by the European Commission (EC), shedding light on the current state and prospects of the continent’s media industry. The report, which can be found here, spans over 100 pages and provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of the European media sector. A panel discussion was held at Cannes’ Marché du Film to present the report, and it was moderated by Sten-Kristian Saluveer, a strategic advisor and head of Cannes NEXT.

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The panel began by highlighting the significant amount of time individuals spend in front of screens, with an average screen time of around 13 hours per day, accounting for multitasking with various technologies and media. This prompted a discussion on whether content or access to the customer is more crucial when it comes to European viewers. The importance of capturing the viewer's attention and supporting European festivals, organisations and productions was emphasised in particular.

Lucia Recalde, deputy director and head of the Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes unit at the EC, explained that the media outlook originated from the preparation of the Audiovisual Action Plan during the COVID-19 crisis. The aim was to understand the changing landscape of the industry and its future direction. Recalde outlined three key drivers of the media outlook: firstly, the EC adopted a holistic ecosystem approach, considering the interplay between different media segments; secondly, an extensive survey was conducted to understand consumer behaviour and trends, including video-on-demand (VoD) consumption; and lastly, the report aimed to identify and analyse technological trends affecting the audiovisual and media industries.

Bastien Remy, policy officer for Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes at the EC, discussed the stakeholders involved in the process. The Commission collaborated with various producers, streamers and broadcasters to collect data through studies, questionnaires and reports. However, the response rate varied across sectors, and further engagement with the industry is desirable in order to obtain more robust and comprehensive data.

The panellists identified three key pillars of findings outlined in the report. The first emphasised the importance of intellectual property in the industry, examining contractual relationships between producers, streamers and broadcasters. The second pillar focused on technological trends, zooming in on the emergence of generative AI, virtual production and extended reality. The report encouraged the European industry to invest more in these areas to enable it to compete globally. The third pillar explored consumption patterns, revealing the concentration of consumption on just a few titles, and the need to democratise access to data on, and insights into, video-on-demand (VoD) platforms.

Also emphasised was the critical role of broadcasters as delivery vehicles for European content. Building high-quality products and services to compete with global platforms was deemed crucial. The report highlighted the trust and brand value retained by European public broadcasters. Additionally, findings from a consumer-preferences survey were presented, revealing an openness to watching content of various origins, including Europe. However, the availability and promotion of European content were identified as areas for improvement.

The growing significance of the gaming and interactive-media sectors was highlighted. Gaming was revealed to have a larger market size than music and cinema combined, with more than 125 million Europeans playing games daily. The report stressed the importance of supporting the gaming sector through funding, infrastructure and talent development to foster innovation and competitiveness.

The discussion also touched upon the topic of regulation and the potential implementation of European content quotas. While concerns about the feasibility and effectiveness of quotas were expressed, the panel highlighted the importance of striking a balance between regulation and market dynamics to ensure a diverse and vibrant European media landscape. The report suggested that a combination of regulatory measures, incentives and collaboration among stakeholders could promote the production and distribution of European content.

The panellists acknowledged the challenges faced by European producers in accessing financing for media projects. The report stressed the need for a favourable investment climate and innovative financing models to support the growth of the industry. It called for closer collaboration between the public and private sectors, financial institutions and content creators to facilitate investment in European media projects.

The digital transformation of the media industry was recognised as a significant driver of change. The report highlighted the importance of upskilling and reskilling the workforce to adapt to evolving technologies and new media formats. It called for investment in training programmes, internships and apprenticeships to nurture talent and ensure a skilled workforce capable of embracing digital innovation.

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