GÖTEBORG, Sweden — “What do European filmmakers, funds, financiers and exhibitors need to do to embrace innovation, compete with the global majors and remain a cultural force,” asked Finnish-Swedish media analyst Johanna Koljonen, editor of the Göteborg Festival’s Nostradamus Project, presenting its annual report at Göteborg’s BioPalatset.
“The next five years will decide whether the film industry as we know it will survive. The small screen windows – TV, VOD and online – are rapidly converging, small screen storytellers are better at relevant storytelling, and the “big tech” studios are beating everyone else in engagement,” she added at the “Do or Die?” seminar with film business experts.
“Many processes that five years ago were in their cradle have now matured. Netflix released its first original commission, “House of Cards” in 2013, and had 118 million subscribers globally at the end of 2017 (when it programmed 26 original features). But the truly important statistic here is that about a third of the world’s population now owns a smartphone: In the 35 OECD countries, mobile broadband penetration is 99%,” runs the 2018 Nostradamus Report, entitled “Do or Die?”
It suggests that pressures on windowing, territoriality and other aspects of the traditional funding model require completely new approaches in order to monetize audience attention. In this regard, TV is far ahead of film and has the most advantages: Direct consumer relationships, access to data, and no traditional ways of doing things. The Nostradamus Report warns: “The European film industry is at particular risk – increased collaboration on the European level will be necessary not just around legislation but also long-term strategy,”
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According to its findings, an average Swede watches a whopping 90 movies a year, but only, in a big city, about four in cinema theaters, iand n small towns on average less than one, which is usually a U.S. blockbuster or a broad Swedish comedy.
“To sell more movie tickets or, for instance, measure the true market share of local cinema, it’s the other 89 titles that we should take a thoughtful look at,” Nostradamus argues.
“In the next five years, almost everything about the wider film and TV ecosystems will change,” the study forecasts, taking issue with the disinterest of film industry stakeholders in fields they consider to be peripheral. That lets “global companies and at best local broadcasters dictate the landscape of funding, promoting and screening audiovisual content,” the report runs.
In a downbeat assessment of the state of Europe’s film industry, it claims that “plenty of films of a high technical or artistic quality are lacking in relevance, and plenty of relevant content is drowning in the enormous quantities of films being released.”
But the report does suggest, however general, some solutions: “Our main challenge going forward will be to minimize the noise and connect the right content with the right viewers,” it adds.
That requires “new technological tools, individually targeted communication, and a release strategy that extends through the film’s full active lifetime,” it concluded.