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Berlinale 2023 - EFM

Rapporto industria: Distribuzione, esercenti e streaming

Le Industry Sessions dell'EFM esaminano il pubblico europeo


BERLINALE 2023: I primi risultati dell'indagine Media Outlook e i fattori chiave del potere dei contenuti europei sono stati gli argomenti al centro del panel

Le Industry Sessions dell'EFM esaminano il pubblico europeo

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

"What kinds of films, series and documentaries do Europeans watch, and what would they like to watch?" That was the opening question by AC Coppens, founder of The Catalysts and moderator of the European Film Market Industry Session titled "Your European Audience at a Glance."

Renate Nikolay, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission, opened the session by stating that the European Commission conducted a survey in 15 EU countries to better understand audience behaviour and preferences related to cinema and streaming services. This was done to make the best use of funding to support the creative industry. The survey is part of the Media Action Plan, which aims to understand market and audience trends in the transition to the digital era. The results of the survey will guide policy choices, including supporting the creative industry and regulating the media market. The survey aims to ensure that EU films, series and documentaries are seen by as many people as possible. The results of the Media Outlook survey, which will be conducted every two years, will be made public in the spring.

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Then, Erika Jakab, Policy Officer at the European Commission, presented the first results. The survey sampled audiences of EU countries, covering age groups from 16 to 55+. It found that the two most important factors for audiences were the genre and the script, while the name of the director was the least important. The most popular genres were crime/mystery/thriller, then action/adventure, followed by comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, and drama with romance coming next. Almost 70% of audiences are open to watching films and shows from different countries and languages, with the United States (45%) and local content (44%) being the top choices for where audiences would like to see more content from, followed by the United Kingdom and other European countries (30%), and then Asia and the rest of the world.

Jaim Tarrazón, senior vice-president and treasurer at UNIC, analysed the market share of national films across various countries and found that the percentages are highly diverse. Some countries, such as the Czech Republic and France, have strong percentages of national films, while others, like Slovenia, have a lower percentage due to smaller national productions. He pointed out that the diversity of European culture should be celebrated, and it's important to give opportunities to all content to reach out to audiences. Language plays a role, as some countries dub foreign films, making the provenance of a film less relevant as long as it tells a compelling story. Film festivals also play a crucial role in giving relevance to films and helping them stand out.

Rodolphe Buet, CBO of Newen Studios, underlined that the dominance of US-produced content on streaming platforms threatens European producers and directors, who face strong competition within an industry where US players have an advantage due to their ability to invest heavily in production and marketing. In France, 80% of streamed programs viewed were US or English-speaking productions, posing a risk to the preservation of European cultural heritage. Hence, European support and regulation are needed to ensure access to and visibility of European productions and intellectual property, and to prevent a whole generation from missing out on their cultural inheritance.

Regarding the challenges of promoting local content, Tarrazón added that not all local content can travel to every country. Strong national films are key to driving success in the theatrical business, and the promotion of local content that can travel is crucial. While not all European content can travel to every country, good European stories have the potential to succeed globally. The challenge for streamers is to produce European and national content in different territories, and they are now realising that content produced in Europe can be successful in the United States. Ultimately, the quality of content will define the global market rather than who owns the IP. Promoting local content and receiving help from European institutions is crucial.

Lucia Recalde, the head of the Audiovisual Industry and MEDIA Support Programmes at the European Commission, highlighted the opportunity in the European audiovisual industry for storytelling, dialogue and character development, citing the unique creative capability of the industry thanks to its diversity. While there is an openness to watching content in other languages and from other countries, promoting and marketing the content is key to discoverability and actually getting viewers to watch it. This requires collaboration between the different actors in the value chain, especially in the pre-production and production stage. Additionally, with competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games, it is important to focus on the promotion, discoverability and visibility of the content to take advantage of the opportunities presented. She also acknowledged the differences in appetite for content across member states and cautioned against framing the competition as European versus US content, given the diverse formats and audience base.

The discussion continued on the complementarity between different forms of content consumption, including gaming and the upcoming immersive metaverse. Buet believes that complementarity is constantly evolving in the industry, with new models emerging all the time. He emphasised the importance of investing in and supporting new projects and productions by both established and emerging talent. The key factors that go into selecting a project include the artistic package and the creativity of the story. He also stressed the importance of maintaining control over storytelling and avoiding pandering to what was successful in the past. The goal is to anticipate the audience's expectations and create a desire for them to watch a film or television show. The final point made was that selecting content solely based on data can be dangerous, as it may not align with what the audience actually wants.

Finally, Recalde underlined that the MEDIA program aims to support European content and ensure that it finds its audience, regardless of its size. The challenge faced by smaller companies in conducting market research to understand their audience was acknowledged, and the idea of democratising expensive data was suggested, and that was the idea behind this survey. She also mentioned that the aim is to conduct regular research on audience preferences every two years and provide useful information to content creators.

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