EU Commission presents a directory of European films to facilitate on-line access

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Brussels, 18 October 2018

On the occasion of the Marché international du film classique [International Classic Film Market] in Lyon, Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, will today present the prototype of a directory of European films, a key action of the Digital4Culture strategy which is also part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Launched with the assistance of the European Audiovisual Observatory, the new directory will help professionals, the public authorities and citizens to find information about European films and their availability on-line in video-on-demand (VOD) services throughout the European Union.

Commissioner Gabriel said: "It is up to us to ensure that European works enjoy the audience that they deserve. Digital transformation has the potential to reinforce the positive impact of culture, at economic and societal levels. The objective of the directory, and, more broadly, of our #Digital4Culture strategy, is to exploit this fruitful collaboration between digital technologies and culture."

Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Tibor Navracsics added: “European cultural heritage is not just about monuments, literature, painting or traditions, but also includes the extraordinary wealth of our film heritage. I am delighted by this initiative as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which will facilitate access to European films of the present and the past, for the greatest number of people”.

Today, just 25% of films offered by VOD services in the EU are European. There are national databases of films but none at European level, even though Europe is a major player in world cinema, with more than 18 000 films produced between 2007 and 2016 and a global production volume which has increased by 47 %, from 1 444 feature films in 2007 to 2 124 in 2016.

The directory is currently still at the prototype stage and includes data from 115 VOD services on 35 000 European films. The launch of the beta version is planned for the spring of 2019, and the definitive version for the end of next year.

Many benefits

Funded by the MEDIA programme of support for the European audiovisual industry, this innovative tool will be accessible to private individuals, professionals and public authorities. The benefits of the directory are manifold:
  • for the public: better visibility for European cinema across the EU, thanks to this rich and varied virtual cinematic archive.
  • for professionals: directors and producers will know the countries and services where their films are available on VOD; distributors wishing to better exploit their European films will be able to identify VOD services offering similar works and which therefore may be interested in hosting their films; VOD services will be able to identify European films available on-line in other places which could be of interest to their audiences.
  • for the public authorities: an indication of the quality of the legal supply of European films in the digital universe; more particularly, the support funds and promotional agencies for films will know whether the films they support are actually available and being exported to other Member States; ultimately, it will provide the regulators with a tool to help them to monitor the implementation of the recent revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) characterised by the adoption of a quota of 30 % for European works so as to increase and enhance the presence of European films on-line.

The initiative is part of the Digital4Culture strategy and the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The digital revolution enables new and innovative forms of artistic creation; broader, more democratic access to culture and heritage; and new ways of accessing, consuming and monetising cultural content. To reflect these developments, the Digital4Culture strategy is also based on proposals to modernise copyright rules and facilitate crossborder access to television and radio programmes on line, the subject of negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council and part of the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The European directory is supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Over the past 27 years, the MEDIA programme has supported the development and distribution of more than 2 000 films, documentaries, television series and, recently, animations. The Commission is proposing that the MEDIA budget be increased by 30 %, or EUR 1.2 billion, for the next budget period 2021-2027. In the coming years, more money will be invested in the international promotion and distribution of European works and innovative storytelling, including virtual reality.

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