Revenues for independently produced and distributed films slid 10% in 1994, the turndown continuing for the second year in a row.

The numbers come from the American Film Marketing Association’s annual survey of AFMA members, conducted by KPMG Peat Marwick, and reveal trends in the following areas:

1) Theatrical sales, at $356 million, continued to slide, accounting for only 31% of all overseas revenues compared with 52% in 1984.

2) Free and pay TV licensing remained strong at $487 million in 1994, tallying 43% of all sales.

3) Video accounted for $291 million, equaling its 1993 percentage of revenue, 25.7%, but dipping 10% overall as total revenues fell.

Good news

The good news in the TV sector, according to AFMA chairman Pamela Pickering, was due to political changes. “The state-owned monopolies and duopolies are a thing of the past,” she said. “The deregulation and privatization of international broadcast stations has made the market competitive and has freed prices that were once government-controlled.”

The bad news in the home video sector was caused by piracy. The drop in video sales, says AFMA president Jonas Rosenfield, was a signal for “more stringent laws and antipiracy enforcement procedures throughout the world.”

In terms of revenues at the major markets, sales tallies were down at the three major ones last year with Cannes marking a $100 million drop in 1994 from the prior year’s $218 million total. Mifed slid to $164 million, down $48 million from$ he preceding year.

The AFM showed the least mange with only a $3 million dip to $232 million. Meanwhile, film sales continue to be a year-round business with $365 million in deals inked outside the three major markets.

The overall downturn in revenues, said AFMA, was due to a lack of independent distribution in France and Spain. The two countries accounted for 21% of the total drop.

While indie revenues declined in France and Spain, indie film sales in all media increased 26% in Germany, 7% in Brazil and an astounding 265% in Canada, where total sales surged to $22 million.

The survey showed that Europe remains the top overseas buyer of indie fare with the Far East second. The U.K., Japan, and Italy each generate more than $100 million in sales.

AFMA, through its American Film Export Association, is continuing to use regional markets as a means towards opening new opportunities.

Previous regional markets have sparked sales in Singapore, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and Moscow.

According to some of the 22 companies attending last year’s market in Budapest, the emerging Eastern European market is still in fact emerging.

But the fast-paced Asian marketplace may provide better results at this year’s market in Bangkok, skedded for July 25-27 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

AFMA is also exploring India’s potential as a buyer of films from outside India’s own considerable movie industry.

AFMA board member Lawrence Garrett has recently toured the sub-continent on a three-week fact-finding mission.

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