×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis.

Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in an E.U. pact over an upcoming ruling on the so-called “country of origin” principle, which would allow a broadcaster in one of the E.U.’s 28 member states to make its online catchup and live-streaming programming available to consumers in other E.U. countries.

The European Commission, the E.U.’s administrative arm, backs this “country of origin” principle in its campaign to turn the entire E.U. into a unified digital market, where a customer in any one member country has access to the online programming of any of the other 27 E.U. nations. Film and TV industry reps in Europe and Hollywood oppose such a  system, saying it would allow consumers to view movies and TV programs on other countries’ streaming services before that content has its official release in the consumers’ homelands.

Last week’s pact saw both the Council of Ministers, representing E.U. member state governments, and the European Parliament push back against the commission. They decided instead to allow broadcasters to do pan-European online distribution only for so-called “ancillary” services, such as news, current affairs shows and the networks’ own productions.

That decision has been greeted with relief by the industry. “Our ability to license rights on a territorial basis is our currency, and the future of our production companies depends on our capacity to build IP capital through rights and catalogue,” said Börje Hansson, vice-president Europe of the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), the global producers’ association.

“The new directive – in contrast to the original proposals – recognizes that these exclusive rights must be preserved, with only defined, limited exceptions for broadcasters’ ancillary online services,” added Jean Prewitt, president and CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, representing independent film and TV companies worldwide.

But industry groups in both Europe and Hollywood – including the Motion Picture Assn., which represents the interests of Hollywood’s major studios- fear that the devil could be in the details, and warn that the battle is not over. The European Commission has not given up on establishing a Digital Single Market.

“Finally we are there,” E.U. vice president Andrus Ansip tweeted last Thursday. Thanks to the new directive, “broadcasters will be able to make radio programs, news & current affairs programs as well as their fully-financed own productions available online in all E.U. countries. [It’s a] big step for [the] Digital Single Market.”

“We understand the definition of ‘ancillary’ services is still subject to final agreement and urge the European institutions to define ‘ancillary’ services in the narrowest possible manner,” said a joint press release Tuesday by 18 entertainment trade organizations, whose signatories included the European Producers Club,  Europa Distribution and, from the soccer sector, the U.K.’s Premiere League and Spain’s La Liga.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content