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Foreign Revs Slide For Independent Pix

Foreign revenues for independently produced and distributed English-language movies slid 10% in 1994 from the previous year, according to an annual survey by KPMG Peat Marwick for the American Film Marketing Assn.

Meanwhile, revenues from television licensing grew to nearly half of the $1.14 billion total indie pix earned abroad.

AFMA blames the overall decrease in revenues on a lack of independent distribution in France and Spain, two territories accounting for 21% of the total drop.

Heavy lineup

AFMA’s roster includes studio-allied heavyweights such as Miramax, Castle Rock and Spelling, as well as New Line, New World, Carolco, Trimark, Samuel Goldwyn, Largo and many smaller companies.

The survey showed theatrical sales accounted for $356 million, or only 31% of all foreign revenues in 1994, compared with 52% in 1984. Free and pay TV licensing together tallied 43% of all indie film sales, or $487 million in 1994.

“The state-owned monopolies and duopolies are a thing of the past in virtually every market in the world,” said AFMA chairman Pamela Pickering in a statement accompanying the survey results. “The deregulation and privatization of international broadcast stations has made the market competitive and has freed prices that were once government controlled.”

Keep on sliding

Homevideo continued to decline, contributing 25.7% of all sales last year, or $291.3 million, compared with 32% in 1984. The decline in video revenues, said AFMA, is attributable to inroads made by TV, and to video piracy.

AFMA president Jonas Rosenfield cited the drop in video sales as a signal for the need for “more stringent laws and anti-piracy enforcement procedures throughout the world.”

Sales tallies at the three major international film markets were down in 1994, with the American Film Market showing the least decrease at $232 million in sales, down only $3 million from 1993. Cannes marked a $100 million slide in 1994 to $218 million in sales. Mifed dropped to $164 million, down $48 million from the preceding year.

A continuing trend toward inking deals outside the traditional markets picked up some of the slack, however, with more than $365 million in sales concluded during the year.

Revenue increases for indie pix sales in all media were reported in Germany (up 26%), Brazil (up 7%) and Canada, where a surge in total sales improved revenues 265% to $22 million.

Europe is the major buyer of independently produced fare in all media, with the Far East second. The U.K., Japan and Italy each generated more than $100 million in sales.

Some 40% of AFMA’s 103 member companies participated in the survey, but Peat Marwick does not disclose which companies reported numbers.

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