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In a gathering of luminaries from the Spanish film and television sector, alongside esteemed international figures, the roadmap for the future of Europe’s film and TV industry was unveiled at a conference hosted in San Sebastian, Spain. Organized by the Spanish government and coinciding with its EU Council Presidency, the event resonated with a resounding vote of confidence in the film, TV, and audiovisual domains.
The conference drew participation from notable panelists including Domingo Corral from Movistar Plus, Pilar Benito from Morena Films, José Antonio Antón from Atresmedia TV, Jan Mojto and Mario Gianani from Beta Film and Italy’s Wildside. The discussions encompassed a range of topics, but the overarching theme was the consolidation of business models, international partnerships, and the importance of ambition in the ever-evolving landscape of European film and TV.
Size Matters: In a sector where 99% of companies are SMEs, a surprising revelation emerged. While the majority of European audiovisual companies are small or medium-sized, the significant chunk of the sector’s annual revenue, 50%, comes from larger entities. Cristina Morales Puerta, Spain’s deputy general director for the management of the audiovisual, highlighted the relevance of scale. José Antonio Antón concurred, explaining how Atresmedia has leveraged its scale by diversifying beyond its original advertising-centric model. The company now produces and distributes content, owns an SVOD platform, and sells content outside of Spain.
Partnering Abroad: As European companies seek to expand their reach, forging international alliances has become essential. Movistar Plus initiated a successful partnership with Beta Film, while Pilar Benito emphasized that partnerships, like Morena’s collaboration with Viacom, offer invaluable insights into client needs and foster product development. International co-productions are viewed as a promising path for European entities to broaden their global footprint.
Be Ambitious: Beta Film’s Jan Mojto underlined the significance of ambition. He emphasized that creating content for a broader, international audience isn’t an insurmountable challenge but a matter of vision and ambition. Beta Film has invested in companies across Europe, aligning with like-minded individuals and entities that share the same sense of ambition. This quest for ambition and global reach was echoed by Mario Gianani from Wildside, who noted that being part of a “larger environment,” such as Fremantle, provides the opportunity to create ambitious content because quality is paramount.
Ambition for Movies Too: “The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan,” a European production, serves as a testament to what ambition can achieve. Bolstered by enthusiastic reviews, the film achieved impressive box office results, amassing 3.4 million admissions in France and 1.6 million outside France, with a global box office of over €35 million ($37.1 million). It ranked third in the global box office rankings and enjoyed robust pre-sales. This success serves as a clarion call for European cinema to embrace daring and ambition to compete on the world stage.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet: A fascinating prospect emerged during the conference—could talent represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) soon feature in projects partially funded by Francois-Henry Pinault’s portfolio of luxury brands? Olivia Sleiter from Fremantle introduced this exciting potential for business synergy, suggesting that cross-industry collaborations will continue to grow across various tiers of the TV and film industry, from low to high-end projects.
A Strategic Industry: Spain’s commitment to the audiovisual sector was evident, with Netflix’s Verónica Fernández highlighting the country’s support through film commissions and government frameworks. Nadia Calviño, Spain’s acting first VP and minister of economic affairs and digital transformation, underscored the sector’s strategic importance. She revealed plans to channel €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) into the industry through credit facilities backed by the EU, further demonstrating the commitment to fostering growth.
The Audiovisual Industry’s Importance: The conference emphasized the reciprocal relationship between the industry and politicians. While politicians are urged to support the sector, industry leaders also recognize their pivotal role in shaping society and identity. European stories should not be solely told by U.S. companies, advocating for European creative sovereignty.
Strength in Numbers: Renate Nikolay, the E.U.’s deputy director-general DG CNECT, highlighted the rapid growth of the top 100 largest audiovisual companies globally. To compete effectively, European entities are encouraged to collaborate and unite forces. The European Union is progressively closing the gap between financial institutions and audiovisual companies, setting the stage for substantial growth.
In conclusion, the San Sebastian conference laid out a compelling vision for the future of the European film and TV industry—a vision built on scale, ambition, international partnerships, and a commitment to telling European stories. As the industry forges ahead, collaborations across sectors and a united European front will likely be key drivers of success in the global media landscape. The stage is set for European cinema to shine even brighter on the world stage.