Euro pix get push

EU pledges banking-arm coin for content

BRUSSELS — The European Film Cos. Alliance (EFCA) has welcomed a commitment made by European Union leaders that the European Investment Bank, the E.U.’s long-term financing arm, should mobilize its financial instruments in order to promote Europe’s content industry.

EFCA includes among its members CLT/Ufa, Studio Canal Plus, Pathe and FilmFour.

The announcement was made by EU leaders at a special Lisbon summit, which was dedicated to accelerating the development of a European “knowledge economy.”

EFCA is especially excited that the value of content production in building the new economy has now been recognized by EU leaders. The EIB has said it intends to direct some $15 billion toward funding the policies agreed to at the summit.

EFCA secretary-general Philippe Kern said the move should address the problem of the undercapitalization of European film companies compared with their U.S. counterparts.

Kern believes that the involvement of the EIB in promoting European content will provide easier and cheaper access to finance, and will help the sector “develop business models … and contribute to devote much needed investment in branding for marketing purposes.”

EFCA thinks that the development of the Internet will help European entertainment companies chip away at the U.S. majors’ competitive advantage regarding global distribution. The organization hopes EIB funding will help increase the presence of European content on digital networks.

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