BFI, Match Factory and CNC among those consulted; Italian MEP Barbara Matera [pictured] has also sent a report on proposed Creative Europe programme to Committee on Culture and Education

The UK’s British Film Institute, sales agents The Match Factory and Celluloid Dreams, and the funding bodies CNC, FFA and Eurimages are among leading European players consulted for a “critical assessment” of the planned MEDIA strand within the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme.

The paper, which was commissioned by the European Parliament’s (EP) Policy Department from Brussels-based KEA European Affairs at the request of the EP Committee on Culture and Education, gives an overview of the proposed strand, compares it to measures provided by previous generations of the MEDIA programmes, and offers policy recommendations “to improve the proposed text and ensure effective support”.

The paper’s authors observe that “the MEDIA Strand is very positive in that it focuses even more closely on digital technologies. However, it does not explicitly mention support to new story-telling formats and projects to facilitate licensing initiatives for online rights. In this respect, it still appears to be quite focused on film and the traditional distribution of films and is not clear enough with regard to its overall scope.”

“In addition, while the programme prioritises audience development, it neither recognises the need to grow specific audiences, such as children or older people, nor does it mention the need to enhance media literacy. It also does not envisage providing support to audiovisual heritage.”

“The Creative Europe MEDIA Strand is to be seen as an ambitious and well-thought programme, conceived to respond to the major challenges of the audiovisual sector today,” they continue. “However, several points could be emphasised and made more explicit, in order to ensure the most effective and efficient support for the sector.”

In a set of recommendations structured around several major policy objectives, the study suggests that the cultural and creative sectors could greatly benefit from better coordination with other European support schemes such as the European Social Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and, in particular, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) of DG Enterprise.

In addition, the authors argue that support in the audiovisual sector here should focus more explicitly on the use of digital technologies for the development of new content formats and for the distribution and dissemination of all types of audiovisual content on new digital platforms.

Other recommendations include support for the subtitling of European films as well as for the digitisation of audiovisual heritage in European audiovisual archives, and ensuring the branding of European audiovisual products by, for example, retaining the MEDIA logo.

Meanwhile, Italian MEP Barbara Matera, as rapporteur of the EP Committee on Budgets, has sent a report on the proposed Creative Europe programme to her colleagues in the Committee on Culture and Education.

While welcoming the proposed budgetary increase for the programme, she emphasises “that the planned percentage distribution of funds ought to be included in the legislative text, not only in the annexed legislative financial statement. Likewise, the detailed description of the setup and implementation of the new Cultural and Creative Sectors (Financial) Facility ought to be covered by the legislative text.”

She argues, moreover, “that the international aspects of cultural and creative sectors are not sufficiently spelled out, and significant portions of the Media Mundus programme are, therefore, lost in the Commission proposal.” Consequently, Matera “intends to reintroduce the key elements of global cooperation in the legislative proposal.”

Her 19 amendments to the Commission’s original text thus include seven recommendations for new paragraphs in Article 7 to provide an indepth description of the financial facility, which had been absent so far.

In a qualifying statement, though, Matera points out “that the financial envelope specified in the legislative proposal [€1.8bn, compared to €1.17bn in the current MFF for Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus] constitutes only an indication to the legislative authority and can not be fixed until agreement is reached on the proposal for a regulation on the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020.”