You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Battle With E.U. Escalates Over Territorial Licensing in Europe

The entertainment industry’s battle with the European Commission over territorial licensing is turning into a drawn-out war that continues to be the talk of many on the Croisette. And it isn’t always clear who’s winning.

Just a few days before Cannes opened, a European Parliament committee voted largely to accept the commission’s proposal to let broadcasters buy rights to movies and TV for transmission throughout Europe on their catch-up and simulcast streaming services, as long as the broadcasters have cleared the rights in their home-base country.

The proposal was vigorously opposed by Hollywood and Europe’s entertainment sector, which depend on local licensing for the bulk of their international business. On May 2, more than 400 trade organizations, companies and European film and TV executives, including the MPAA, addressed an open letter to E.U. governments arguing against the proposal. They said it would decimate rights-holders’ ability to license content on a territory-by-territory basis, allowing consumers to watch films and TV shows on catch-up services before their first-run theatrical release or broadcast in their home countries.

Benoit Ginisty, chief representative of the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assns. (FIAPF), said some producers would feel pressured into agreeing to such pan-European licensing. “If you need your film to get made, and you need a deal with a broadcaster in your territory, a vast number of European producers would not be in a situation where [they] can say ‘no’ to a broadcaster” over pan-European rights, Ginisty said.

In the months ahead, at least two more European Parliament committees are expected to vote on the proposal. A final decision will be made by E.U. member states, some of which — such as France, Spain, and Italy — have pushed back against the proposal, siding with the entertainment industry. But it’s unclear whether their opposition will be enough.

The industry has already suffered a recent reverse. Last month, the European Parliament suggested that E.U. authorities should review the current exclusion of film and TV from an E.U. ban on “geo-blocking” — limiting online services to one country. That review could happen in about three years, said Charlotte Lund Thomsen, FIAPF’s legal counsel.

At Cannes, the European Film Agency Directors, a group composed of the heads of national films boards in 31 European countries, is expected to issue a statement on Monday. The body, which includes France’s CNC and the U.K.’s British Film Institute, will almost certainly express concern over the European Commission’s proposal and the suggested revisit of geo-blocking.

“The industry initially scored a victory last year when AV services were excluded from the commission’s geo-blocking proposal, and this was confirmed by the [E.U.’s] member states,” said Jean Prewitt, president & CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. “But we may have won the battle but not the war as the European Parliament has inserted us into the review clause.”

Film and TV remain under “continuous attack,” Prewitt said.

More Digital

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content