National agencies fear Europe is falling behind the U.S.

LONDON — European film agencies issued a joint statement Wednesday urging the European Commission to do all it can to stimulate the uptake of digital cinema in the region.

It is “absolutely necessary,” they said, that the largest possible catalog of new and classic European films be made available in high-def digital format for video-on-demand, Internet and cable-based homevideo services as well as DCI-compliant 2K to 4K digital format for theatrical screening.

“With the American majors moving quickly into the VOD and digital cinema market, with large and compelling libraries of American titles, there is a real risk that European films lose out and never reach a new and committed audience if European producers, distributors and exhibitors are unable to respond speedily to the digital challenge,” they said.

The statement came a day after the European Parliament approved the latest edition of the pan-European Media film and TV aid program, in which digitization will be a key feature.

The seven-year program commencing Jan. 1 has as one of its priorities support for digital services and the digitization of European catalogs.

Hailing from each of the European Union’s 25 member states, the agencies include the Danish Film Institute, France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie and the U.K. Film Council.

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