Europe needs blockbuster films, study says

Bigger budgets and a major video-streaming service could boost Europe’s film industry

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Europe should make fewer films and spend more on them, a study on the continent’s film industry has recommended.

Every year, Europe makes about twice as many feature films as the USA, according to the study for the European Parliament. But these films only capture about 20-30% of the European market, the study report said.

This is partly due to language barriers and cultural differences, the researchers concluded, saying that “many European films miss out on economies of scale”,

They therefore suggested that “more selective” national and EU funding policies, providing “higher budgets for fewer films”, would increase the opportunities for those films to find the audience they deserve.

State and EU money should also be shifted somewhat away from funding the production of films, and more towards supporting distribution and promotion, including of arthouse films to younger age groups, the researchers recommended.

The development of a major European video-on-demand platform was also suggested as a way of getting more European films to European audiences.

Subscription video-on-demand services had revenues about half those of cinemas in 2016, the report said, but are growing at an annual rate of more than 40%, versus just 2% for cinemas. US services dominate the European market, it said, with Netflix and Amazon having a joint share of 67% and the largest European service, Sky, having a share of just 4%.

“On a pan-European scale, Europe does not currently present competition to the worldwide giants that dominate the market,” according to the report. “Fragmentation of the EU online film market is not helpful in this.”

The report was produced for the Parliament’s culture committee.

Words: Craig Nicholson

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