Groundbreaking research “mapping” the European animation industry is to be presented at the Annecy Festival.

The Pirates! Band Of Misfits

The “Focus On Animation” is published by the Strasbourg-based European Audiovisual Observatory. Financed by the European Commission, it offers “in depth” intelligence and data on the state of European animation. Its findings are likely to have a major bearing on European strategy toward animation.

Predictably, the report underlines the dominance that the US (“by far the largest market for animation in the world”) still enjoys in the sphere. 

“Between 2010 and 2014, feature animation did a yearly average of 173.9 million tickets” (in North America) the report notes, pointing out that this accounts for 14.2% of the total admissions in North America. 

The yearly average market share for European animated films in North America between 2010 and 2014 was 2.96%.

Gnomeo And Juliet, Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! Band Of Misfits accounted for 75% of the admissions to European animation in North America.

Meanwhile, European animation achieved a 20% share of the animation market in Europe in 2014. Not a single European production made it to the top 30 list of animation films in Europe by admissions.

The report, billed as the first “major European study of the sector,” reveals that a yearly average of 50 animation films is bring produced in Europe.

Budgets for animation remain significantly higher than those for non-animation However, in general, the report also concludes: “European animation performs better and has a wider circulation than non-animated films.”

The report points out that, “as a general rule…the decrease of investment in animation by European broadcasters has forced producers to explore new sources of financing.”

The Creative Europe programme, via its MEDIA sub-programme, is already supporting the animation sector: in 2014, 16 % of the projects funded for their development were purely animation projects and 25% of support for TV production went to animation content. Initiatives targeting the animation industry are also funded under other parts of the MEDIA sub-programme, namely training and access to market actions. 

“Our current research will help us analyse how to go further,” an EC spokesperson commented.

“The Observatory had always wanted to cover animation but without having the resources. It’s part of our remit to produce industry analysis in Europe and we were aware that the animation industry was waiting for a major European study of the sector.” 

Susanne Nikoltchev, Executive Director of the Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, told Screen International. ”we absolutely jumped at the chance to do this study for the Commission. We hope it’s not just a one-shot and that we can produce up-dates in the future. There has certainly been enough interest from media professionals to justify this.”

The report is set to be distributed during an animation workshop in Annecy tomorrow morning (June 17), when it will also be published free on the website of the European Commission.

Later this autumn, a second report will be published with what an EC spokesperson describes as “additional qualitative information” on such subjects as public funding, training activities and the value of the industry.