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BERLINALE 2024 EFM

L'EFM mette in luce le opportunità di un ecosistema fiorente per i contenuti europei

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- BERLINALE 2024: Un panel ha offerto tutti gli elementi chiave sul presente e sul futuro del multiforme mercato europeo, evidenziando le opportunità future

L'EFM mette in luce le opportunità di un ecosistema fiorente per i contenuti europei
Tomáš Hrubý (a sinistra), Daniela Elstner (centro) e Sten-Kristian Saluveer (a destra) sul panel

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Last year's European Film Market saw the European Commission unveil audience research findings, revealing a promising market opportunity for European content amidst stiff competition from the US and local rivals. This year's session delved into how European players, including broadcasters and producers, could capitalise on this opportunity.

Sten-Kristian Saluveer, CEO of Storytek, kickstarted the discussion by highlighting the necessity of nurturing a thriving ecosystem for European content amid political and structural shifts. He emphasised storytelling's crucial role in upholding democracy and human values, especially in the face of technological disruptions and recent events like the SAG-AFTRA strikes. Saluveer stressed the importance of adaptation and investment in the European media sector, underlining the Commission's acknowledgment of the competitive landscape and the significance of targeting young audiences. Despite financial challenges, optimism prevailed, buoyed by initiatives like the AI Act and the potential evolution of the market. The dialogue aimed to glean insights from industry stakeholders on overcoming obstacles and leveraging opportunities for European content.

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In her opening address, Renate Nikolay, Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology at the European Commission, painted a picture of the profound changes underway in the European media landscape, as outlined in the Commission's inaugural media outlook. She outlined challenges stemming from shifts in consumer behaviour, technological advancements, and evolving business and funding models. Nikolay emphasised the need for dialogue on intellectual property rights, technological innovations, and sustainable financing to effectively address these challenges. She underscored the fierce competition faced by European content in a largely US-dominated market, stressing the importance of cultural diversity and commercial viability in expanding audience reach. Nikolay highlighted the pivotal role of both public and private investments in nurturing a thriving audiovisual sector. She also stressed the imperative of scaling up and fostering cross-border collaboration to attract substantial investments and enhance distribution capabilities.

Moreover, Nikolay underscored the urgency for innovation in the European audiovisual sector, recognising the need to catch up with leading players in the US and Asia. She emphasised the role of initiatives like the AI Act and the Commission's communication on virtual worlds in driving technological advancements. Nikolay advocated for a more ambitious and collaborative innovation agenda, supporting projects leveraging XR, VR, and AI to bridge the gap between technology and content. Addressing skills shortages and fostering collaboration between public and private entities were identified as crucial for driving rapid progress in the sector. Nikolay concluded by reaffirming the European Commission's steadfast commitment to supporting the audiovisual ecosystem through joint initiatives involving the EU, member states, and industry stakeholders, ensuring its resilience and expansion amid shifting political landscapes and legislative transitions.

Following Saluveer's moderation, a panel discussion ensued where participants explored the current state of the European content market, acknowledging recent disruptions and obstacles. Robert Franke, Head of Drama at ZDF Studios, highlighted the aftermath of the streaming bubble, which led to an unsustainable market due to excessive content production, particularly affecting TV series. Carole Scotta, founder of Haut et Court, observed the evolving dynamics in the TV landscape, noting a convergence with cinema's role and stressing the importance of sustaining European film production through regulatory support. Tomáš Hrubý, CEO of Nutprodukce, discussed the impact of political shifts on Eastern European film production, citing instances of filmmakers relocating due to adverse conditions. Matthieu Zeller, president of nWave, outlined challenges in animation production, emphasising the need for distribution tools to mitigate risks. Pannellists however recognised the potential of European content in animation, despite lingering uncertainties concerning distribution and audience preferences, raising concerns about assuming production risks.

Saluveer's inquiry about the changing role of national institutions in the European audiovisual landscape, citing France as an example, prompted Daniela Elstner, executive director of Unifrance, to bring up the necessity of offering diverse European content and making it accessible. She highlighted Unifrance's efforts in promoting French films and TV shows, advocating for collaboration at national and European levels to strengthen identity and cultural diversity. Elstner discussed Unifrance's innovative approach of hosting a European online festival within the gaming world of Minecraft to engage young audiences, showcasing European cinema's diversity and reigniting interest among the youth.

Addressing Saluveer's query on business models and distribution, Franke highlighted the challenge of excessive content vying for audience attention amidst various entertainment options. He stressed the need for resonant content and creators understanding audience preferences, cautioning against attributing low viewership solely to streamers. Hrubý expanded on this, noting the necessity of understanding audience preferences and adapting distribution strategies, advocating for quality over quantity. Scotta echoed these sentiments, underlining the importance of curation, selection, and collaboration in innovative film showcasing. She urged regulatory measures to ensure streamers prioritise European film visibility and endorsed a strategic distribution approach focusing on quality.

In discussing the challenges of European content distribution and adapting to market dynamics, Zeller emphasised the pivotal role of distribution, especially in animation, where significant production investments require efficient channels. Scotta echoed this, advocating for regulated distribution to sustain diversity and support local productions amidst global competition. Elstner highlighted the importance of collaborative marketing and coordinated release strategies across European territories to overcome linguistic and regulatory hurdles. Franke mentioned the need for a balance between production and distribution, emphasising audience engagement's significance in content success. Hrubý pointed out the audience's preference for local productions, signalling growth opportunities for European creators.

In the final discussion round, Saluveer prompted predictions for 2024. Hrubý aimed to maintain the current system, emphasising the separation of politics and cinema. Scotta advocated for the role of films in fostering dialogue and education. Franke expressed concerns about technology's impact on audience fragmentation, mentioning the importance of preserving human creativity in storytelling. Collectively, the panellists underlined quality, effective curation, managing market expectations, exploring new platforms, and monitoring political influences to ensure success in the European content landscape.

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