EU’s eyes, ears

Exex meet to define audiovisual policy

Leading lights from Europe’s film and TV worlds met in Brussels Monday to map out policy guidelines for future EU audiovisual policy.

Members of the think tank, which was set up on the initiative of EU culture chief Marcelino Oreja, include Polygram prexy Michael Kuhn, U.K. helmer John McGrath, prez of the European Broadcasting Union Albert Scharf and Jan Mojto, head of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe.

The group will meet five times between now and September 1998, when it is due to submit recommendations to the European Commission, Parliament and the EU member states.

The group is intended to address the key challenges facing the industry in Europe. According to a commission spokesman, these will include trying to figure out how the European content production industry can get the most out of digital technology.

According to a study recently carried out by the commission, global audiovisual industry revenues are set to increase by about 70% on average during the period 1995 to 2005, with higher growth expected in areas such as interactive TV and multimedia.

Brussels believes that European film and program makers are set to take a larger share of the revenue in this expanding market, with a particularly strong showing in areas currently dominated by U.S. product — cinema, video, pay TV, interactive TV and multimedia applications.

The commission thinks Euro market share in these areas will rise from a lame 13% in 1995 to 21% in 2005 if current policy is sustained.

Other issues on the agenda of the think tank are how the authorities at European and national levels can rise to the industrial, cultural and societal challenges and what consideration should be given to the general interest — in particular ethical considerations — in the new audiovisual landscape in order to safeguard the European approach to society.

Included within these two categories will, no doubt, be a discussion about the EU’s policy of imposing quotas on non-EU product.

The next meeting of the think tank is scheduled for January.

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