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INDUSTRY / MARKET France

A budget of €165m committed to the revival of French film

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- France is further bolstering the CNC’s budget so as to mitigate the health crisis’s impact on the fund and to allow for targeted stimulus measures while awaiting the aid of streaming platforms

A budget of €165m committed to the revival of French film

Following the emergency measures (read our news, our article and our interview with the Managing Director of ARP Mathieu Debusschère) announced back in the spring, in the midst of the health crisis, the French government is now enacting its revival of the national film industry, a sector which has resisted disaster and recommenced activities, but which has found itself profoundly affected by the six-month storm which has only very recently passed.

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Opening the 13th Angoulême Francophone Film Festival (running 28 August – 2 September), and on the subject of the revival of the cultural sector, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced an endowment of €165m for the CNC, €60m of which is intended to fill the financial hole created by the crisis within the support fund (which producers can dip into so as to initiate new projects, according to the French system’s “virtuous” logic).

The hit taken by the CNC’s finances (€643m in 2019) is understandable given the severe impact which the closure of cinemas between 15 March and 22 June - and their sluggish comeback (with almost 75% fewer tickets sold compared to 2019) - has had on cinema admissions tax (fixed at 10.72 % of the ticket price and resulting in earnings of €154m for the CNC last year). Moreover, the drop in advertising revenue enjoyed by TV networks has also dealt a blow to the CNC’s earnings as far as the TV services tax (TST) is concerned. In this sense, the CNC’s overall income loss was always going to lead to a contraction in future French film production, and, consequently, the €60m set to be injected by the State will go some way to cushioning the financial blow (though no doubt only partially since the hole left in the support fund might be somewhat higher than estimated).

The remaining €105m will be spent on targeted support measures (the details of which will soon be clarified) aimed at helping the various segments of the French film industry, from producers through to distributors, and with a particular emphasis on cinema operators who believe their losses incurred since March total upwards of €500m.

This revival of the national film industry will also include funding and broadcasting obligations for SVOD platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, etc.), in terms of French and European productions, as of 1 January 2021, with the all-important transposition into law of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). At the same time, interprofessional negotiations will be held on the question of a further reform of French media chronology (the statutory timeframes or windows during which a film can be exploited by the various broadcasting supports: cinemas, VOD, on-demand TV, pay TV, SVOD), which the state intends to bring to fruition if the Prime Minister’s words are anything to go by ("we can’t ask so much of the platforms while insisting upon the broadcasting windows in their current form").

It’s a situation we’ll be following very closely amidst a wider environment of French upheaval and change, notably exemplified by the entry into force (by decree) on 6 August of film advertising on TV (for an 18-month trial period, for now).

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(Translated from French)

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