European plans to change the current rules surrounding copyright, including the current territorial exploitation of TV and film rights, could substantially reduce the amount of investment in the region, a new report claims.
A major new study compiled by economic consultancy Oxera and media consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum, released to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival, warns that rather than improving consumer choice, eroding territorial exploitation would lead to an enormous cost to audiences as well as to the European creative economy, threatening cultural diversity both in production and distribution, thus reducing the volume and quality of original content on offer in the EU.
Substantially lower levels of investment could result in so-called ‘consumer welfare losses’ of €3.9 billion a year.
John McVay, Chief Executive of the independent producers association Pact, said: “Today’s report underlines that the Commission’s plans will deliver the exact opposite of their stated intentions leaving audiences with a poorer range of content, higher prices and a devastating impact on cultural diversity both in production and distribution. It is vital that they urgently rethink their approach and work closely with industry and member state governments to ensure no changes are made that would end up leaving audiences worse off. We all want to develop a stronger digital economy for film and television. But the Commission must work with, not against the industry to deliver for audiences.”
Producers in many European countries have expressed particular concern that undermining the principle of territorial exclusivity would jeopardise their ability to secure public funding and compromise their ability to enter into co-production agreements that secure commercial funds from other countries before filming can begin.
Rather than improve online access for consumers – for example by extending online movie services outside the country for which they were intended – the need for exclusivity would reduce the interest in pre-production funding.