Joing hands to face VOD

Euro b'casters gather to chat on film future

Several leading European broadcasters which invest in film production met Monday in Cannes to discuss how video-on-demand will impact European cinema.

The meeting was organized by the U.K.’s Channel 4, and included reps from TV2 (Denmark), Mediaset (Italy), TVE (Spain), Canal Plus (France), YLE (Finland) and Arte France.

The confab was prompted by fears that European cinema could struggle to gain access to VOD platforms without the active and concerted support of Euro broadcasters.

Specifically, there are concerns that the EU’s charter on movie downloading, which media commissioner Viviane Reding will formally unveil today in Cannes, does not do enough to help Euro broadcasters promote local cinema on VOD.

Producer Antonio Saura, who chaired the conference, said, “New media players who are developing VOD services do not have a tradition of supporting European cinema, and there are concerns that their services will focus primarily on Hollywood output, and that European films will not enjoy sufficient prominence in new on-demand services.”

“The broadcasters in the meeting today showed a willingness to rise to the challenges offered by new technologies to promote the full diversity of European films, both through linear channels and non-linear VOD services,” he added.

The participants agreed to set up an ongoing Working Group including any broadcaster with a long-term commitment to European film production.

The agenda of the Working Group will span the impact of VOD on financing models; the promotion of European cinema on existing channels and new digital services; and regulatory issues relating the EU’s VOD charter to the Television Without Frontiers directive that governs traditional broadcasting.

Insiders say the VOD charter is primarily designed to counter piracy, but doesn’t address the issue of promoting Euro cinema.

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