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INSTITUTIONS / LEGISLATION Italy

The Italian government increases investment obligations for VoD platforms

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- Italian audiovisual associations will meet on 5 April to present new proposals to help with the recovery of the industry

The Italian government increases investment obligations for VoD platforms

The entire Italian audiovisual industry is joining forces to respond to the emergency. A few days ago, the Italian government approved a few modifications to the Consolidated text on audiovisual media services (Tusma), increasing VoD platforms’ quotas for investment obligations into original works by independent Italian producers. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the other VoD operators will now have to set aside 16% of their net annual income in Italy for “European” productions, a quota that is sensibly lower than the 20% currently into effect. However, the share of this investment that will go to “Italian” productions has been raised from 50 to 70%. In sum, VoD platforms will have to invest 11.2% of their net annual income in Italy towards independent Italian producers, instead of the 10% in force today.

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No changes for commercial linear TV, besides a reduction from 3.5 to 3% of investment obligations in the sub-category of Italian cinema (titles released in the last five years) within the quota for European works. On the other hand, investment obligations are rising for the platforms, from 2 to 3%.

Audiovisual associations have also asked for sub-quotas for documentary and animation, and for time limits on the rights acquired by TV and platforms, with the possibility for independent producers to maintain a part of the rights for the work. The Culture Minister is set to intervene with extensive modifications to the legislation on the audiovisual tax credit, expected for summer 2024. 

Representatives for all the elements which compose the Italian audiovisual industry — who in the past few weeks have expressed great concern about the changes in the investment quotas of large broadcasters and global players in Italian film, series and documentary — are now asking to reopen the dialogue with the government, which “knew how to listen and has intervened to defend investments in independent Italian cinema in the recent Tusma revision.” They have invited all professionals from the sector to a press conference on 5 April in Rome to present new proposals for a rapid recovery of the entire industry.

“The first trimester of 2024 has seen an abrupt stop of cinematic and audiovisual production”, a press release reads, “due to uncertainty and the continued delay in implementing public support measures for the sector. From a situation of full employment and great growth in all parts of the sector, we are now faced with a real and genuine emergency with many productions postponed or cancelled. Italian labour unions indicate that employment levels are plummeting, with many workers forced to resort to unemployment benefits (NASPI) and many soundstages empty, if not for a few foreign productions.” 

Representatives of the sector point out that, on the other hand, “international co-productions have increased, as has the number of countries involved (+51% in the three-year period of 2020-2022), while the value of the export has been multiplied by three (source: eMedia for ANICA and APA). The Italian share of the 2023 box office was 24%, second in Europe only to France’s; all major international festivals have seen an increase in the number of Italian titles in their official selections; and Italy has seen five of its films nominated at the Academy Awards”.

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(Translated from Italian)

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