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Film and television: Falling in love again?

On May 15, as part of the 64th Cannes film festival program, the European Audiovisual Observatory held a very informative workshop about the current relationship between film and television. More than 400 professionals had gathered as Mr. Wolfgang Closs, executive director of the European Audiovisual Observatory, welcomed a number of speakers from his organization as well as outside specialists to discuss trends in the European film and broadcast markets. And the big question was: are film and television back in love?

To begin with, as Jacques Braun, vice president of Eurodata TV Worldwide said, “internet is not killing TV.” Television consumption increased in 2010, especially among young people – both in Europe and in the United States. The market for films on TV is growing. However, the market share for European films in the EU decreased in 2010 to 25.3 percent. U.S. films made up 68 percent of the EU film market last year.

When it comes to financing, the role of broadcasters vary from country to country. Susan Newman-Baudais, analyst at the European Audiovisual Observatory, pointed out that in 2009, an estimated 29 percent of total fund income in Europe came from broadcasters. Breaking it down by country, the highest percentage was in Portugal, where 77 percent of the total fund income in 2009 came from television. Second on the list was France with 73 percent. Norway came in last with six percent and Sweden second to last with 10 percent. However, in countries such as Sweden and Norway, there are negotiated contributions that provide lower income but more stable contribution throughout the period of the agreement.

Martin Moskowizs, chairman of the European Producers’ Club, pointed out that there is a rivalry relationship between TV and film in regards to competing for the audience.

But after hearing about how much established financial and legal regulation there is between these two media – and the increase in TV consumption taken into account – I cannot help to agree with one of the closing remarks: “TV needs cinema and cinema needs TV.”

Like in most passionate love relationships, there may be some element of rivalry. But in the end, the love affair between film and television seems to be on.

Solveig Haugen

Correspondent, filmfestivals.com

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