Covid-19: Measures to support the audiovisual and cinema industry and to ensure quality news coverage across Europe 05 June 20

Cullen International has updated its benchmark of measures taken by governments, NRAs, and film agencies in 13 member states to mitigate the economic impact of the lockdown on the cinema and audiovisual sector.

The benchmark provides an overview of measures to help support interrupted or delayed shootings or films that could not be screened in cinemas due to the lock-down, support for production crews and workers, but also measures to incentivise new projects. Interestingly, Poland increased funding for cinema production by extending the 1.5% levy (currently imposed on broadcasters and distributors) to revenues generated by VOD providers.

Measures to help audiovisual media services providers and ensure they are in the position to keep ensuring quality news coverage include:

  • incentives to advertise on local TV channels and on national TV channels which from 1 March to 31 May 2020 have suffered a decrease in turnover of at least 33% (Italy);
  • new or increased funds to support public service broadcasters (Netherlands and Spain), local broadcasters (Denmark and Italy) or news providers (Croatia, Germany and Sweden);
  • flexible approach in the application of certain programming obligations for broadcasters (Croatia, France and Belgium Wallonia).

Cullen International has also published an update of measures taken by governments and/or NRAs to fight online fake news, ensure access to authoritative and accurate information on broadcast services and facilitate access to certain audiovisual content and services during the lockdown. Among the most interesting developments, the benchmark shows that:

  • Germany has simplified licensing procedure for live-streaming of cultural or religious events, and educational programmes. Belgium Wallonia and France promoted initiatives to ensure the streaming of cinema films on digital platforms and the broadcast of quality educational and cultural content on television;
  • a UK government task force is working with platforms to remove harmful content and to implement direct rebuttal on social media. NRAs in Italy and in France are discussing with main digital platforms about the systems to fight disinformation they put in place during the crisis.

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