French creatives slam SVoD investment rules
February 10, 2022
From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris
French authors association SACD, along with producers’ bodies USPA and AnimFrance, have asked France’s Conseil d’État (Council of State) to scrap the conventions signed by US SVoD platforms Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ with regulatory body Arcom (formerly the CSA) in December 2021.
The SACD and its allies also wrote to Arcom requesting the withdrawal of the agreements that set an obligation on foreign SVoD services to dedicate 20 per cent of their annual turnover in France to content creation in France, after the French ‘AVMS’ Euro Directive became operative in July 2021.
Eighty per cent of this sum will co-finance audiovisual contents, 20 per cent will go to cinema. Apple’s App and iTunes Store is committed to a 15 per cent obligation both for audiovisual and movie content.
Ninety-five per cent of the SVoD platforms’ investment is set go to back catalogue content such as fiction, documentary, animation.
Though the regulations are set to generate €250 million to €300 million additional funding for producers and creators in 2022, around €350 million within five years, they have brought push back from the authors and producers’ organisations, all denouncing a “lack of cultural ambition” and diversity. The also consider the animation and documentary sub-quotas as low and unacceptable.
By genres, Netflix has committed to investing 4.4 per cent of its TV contribution to animation works and 0.6 per cent to documentaries, while Prime Video’s sub-quotas amount to 3 per cent into independent documentaries and 3 per cent into live video recording and shows. Disney+’s animation quotas have been fixed to 3.5 per cent while the documentary share represents 1.5 per cent of its contribution.
The decrease of the share dedicated to original works in French has also been pointed out as potentially leading to a loss of several million euros in investment.
The new conventions became operative in January 2022 and should be extended to five other platforms before the end of the year, including French SVoD and VoD services Canal+ Séries, myCanal, Canal VOD and OCS, as well as Google.