Europe Sketches Film-TV Roadmap: Scale, Ambition, Co-Production, Investment, and Fashion

Spanish film-TV’s good and great joined illustrious international figures to sketch out a roadmap for Europe’s film-TV future at a Conference on Sunday at San Sebastian.

Hosted by Spain’s government, coinciding with its E.U. Council Presidency, the event delivered a bullish vote of confidence in film, TV and audiovisual in general.

Such confidence is natural given the panelists, such as Movistar Plus’ Domingo Corral, Morena Films’ Pilar Benito and Atresmedia TV’s José Antonio Antón, Beta Film’s Jan Mojto and Mario Gianani, at Italy’s Wildside at a first session turning on the consolidation of business models.    

Another panel broke down three European hits – Netflix’s “The Snow Girl” and animated pic franchise “Tadeo Jones,” both from Spain, and mega European co-production “The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan,” led by France’s Pathé.   

Below, eight takeaways:    

Size Matters

99% of companies in Europe’s AV sector are SMEs, but big companies account for 50% of the sector’s annual turnover observed Cristina Morales Puerta, Spain’s deputy general director for the management of the audiovisual. So does scale matter? Yes, said Antón: With the globalization of business Atresmedia can now grow outside its original advertising business, producing and distributing content, owning an SVOD platform, and selling outside Spain.

Partnering Abroad 

Local companies need to establish international alliances, such as Movistar Plus’s initial partnership with Beta Film, Corral said. “Scale matters,” Benito agrees: Morena’s partnership with Viacom “allows it to develop more product and have a clearer idea of clients,” she noted. One way forward is international co-production, argued Corral, noting that Movistar Plus+ first, “Hierro,” was one of its biggest audience hits ever.

Be Ambitious

“Creating content for a larger than national market is not a question of science, it’s a question of ambition,” observed Beta’s Mojto, who explained that Beta had bought or bought into companies around Europe, choosing “right people means in who share the same ambition, and also act according. He choose broadcast and streamer partners according to the same criteria, he added. “It’s all about ambition and ambition needs scale and global markets,” agreed Wildside’s Gianani, noting that forming part of of a “larger environment” such as Fremantle gave the “opportunity of creating ambitious content because financing is quality, it’s all about quality. It’s all about talent.”

And Ambition is Key for Movies Too

Boosted by enthusiastic reviews, “The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan” notched up 3.4 million admissions in France, 1.6 million outside France, making for a worldwide box office of over €35 million ($37.1 million). It also placed No. 3 in global box office worldwide and pre-sales were very solid, said Marie-Laure Montironi at Pathé, who presented the film with Yolanda del Val at DeAPlaneta, its Spanish co-producer. “If we want to rival Hollywood we need to be more daring,” read a message on a screen as Del Val and Montironi talked up “The Three Musketeers.”  

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Could we soon witness talent represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) starring in projects partially funded by Francois-Henry Pinault’s portfolio of luxury brands? Fremantle’s Olivia Sleiter broached this intriguing business synergy, noting “this cross intersection of everything…” Fremantle is currently developing projects that have already gained from Saint Laurent’s foray into film production;  “We have projects getting advantage of this,” added Sleiter. Expect cross-industry collaborations will occur ever more at the low, mid and high end of TV and Film.

A Strategic Industry

One advantage of shooting in Spain, said Verónica Fernández, Netflix director content originals Spain, is that “there’s always a film commission helping access to all types of locations, and a framework from the government which understands that this is a strategic business.” Just how strategic was forcefully brought home to a San Sebastian industry audience by a rousing opening speech by Nadia Calviño, Spain’s acting first VP and and minister of economic affairs and digital transformation, She confirmed that she hoped that in a second phase of the Spain AVS Plan, state bank ICO will channel €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) into the sector via credit facilities backed by the E.U. She hoped to receive a greenlight from the Commission “in the next few weeks.”

The Audiovisual Industry Shouldn’t Sell Itself Short

“We need politicians,” who support the industry, said Gianani, with reference to Calviño. But “politicians need us,” added Mojto. “We are not asking for public money to play games. We are creating something which is the basis of today’s society, the basis of our common identity and social cohesion,” he added. Given that, it’s crucial that such stories shouldn’t be told just by U.S. companies, Corral argued. “It’s a question of European creative sovereignty,” he said.     

Strength in Numbers 

In her closing remarks. Renate Nikolay, the E.U.’s deputy director-general DG CNECT, highlighted that the top 100 largest audiovisual companies in the world are growing twice as much as the overall sector. “They’re running away with it.” “In the European Union, we have the capacity to join forces more, and we must do so in order to scale up and enter this race,” she stated. Europe is “slowly bridging the gap between financial institutions and audiovisual companies.” Read this space shortly for new details. 

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