Vid sales help Gallic prod’n funding

Theatrical ticket sales expected to fall 5.6%

PARIS — French TV and film producers can thank a hike in video sales for maintaining levels of public funding for production next year.

Theatrical ticket sales, another contributor to funding, are expected to fall 5.6%.

In a presentation of its 2004 budget, the Centre National de la Cinematographie, which oversees France’s TV and film production industries, announced aid of e28.62 million ($33.1 million) — essentially unchanged — from France’s culture ministry.

However, the industry’s partly self-financing Compte de Soutien fund will grow 5.8% to $551 million.

The fund’s biggest contributor is broadcasters, who are obliged by regs to pay $378.3 million next year, up 1.2%.

A tax on theatrical ticket sales will contribute another $124.2 million, up a fractional 0.5%, while video’s contribution will more than double next year to $46.3 million.

The government has announced it will increase the video subsidy next year by taxing retail sales rather than distribution revenues.

With an anticipated increase in DVD sales of 50% in volume, distrib revs in 2003 are expected to grow 15%.

The government has also announced new tax breaks for movies shot in France to boost local production.

In terms of market share, the CNC’s figures mirrored those published recently by exhibitors, giving U.S. movies 51.2% of the Gallic box office compared to 38.3% for French films.

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