Film financing: should we be afraid of Netflix?

“It is always more advantageous to have several investors”

Pascal Rogard, Director General of SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers)

Distributors tend to make the link between the decline in cinema attendance and Netflix, when this phenomenon is above all linked to the Covid. The world of cinema is struggling to adapt to platforms, when it would have every interest to do so: it is always more advantageous to have several investors.

If François Ozon had only been able to count on Canal+, he would not have been able to shoot Thanks to God, because Vincent Bolloré was against it. It is not a question of withdrawing power from Canal+, but of finding a solution to integrate the platforms into the French cinematographic landscape. From the moment we force Netflix and the other platforms to participate in French creation up to 20% of their turnover in France, it seems normal to me that they want to broadcast the films after a year.

→ ANALYSIS. Netflix or Disney + will pay 20 to 25% of their income to finance French creation

That Canal+ demands a fifteen-month exclusivity for the creations it supports does not strike me as shocking either. I don’t think Netflix will fight for three months: French cinema is not such an important subject for her. But France is struggling to adopt more flexible rules, which would promote the development of platforms.

Sometimes, Netflix organizes media events that irritate industry professionals, such as the screening of Don’t Look Upat the Cinematheque. But I don’t see where the problem is: it also broadcasts cinema films! The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion is not a TV movie, even if it has the status in France because of our regulations.

“The real problem is the lack of fairness”

Etienne Ollagnier. President of SDI (Union of independent distributors)

The profession has nothing against platforms, it would be going against an inevitable evolution. We would oppose them if they did not want to be part of the French financing system, because that would endanger a whole section of the cinema and in particular cinemas, which still constitute the biggest revenue in the sector today, in addition to be symbolically important to us.

→ THE FACTS. Netflix: subscriber growth slows, stock price plummets

The profession is not against the arrival of Netflix and the other platforms earlier in the media chronology, provided that they finance the cinema at a reasonable level. If Canal+ arrives much further upstream, it is because the group invests 200 million euros per year.

The 20% participation of the platforms’ turnover in France in French creation concerns all audiovisual production. The part relating to the cinema would not represent more than 40 million euros. This is much less than Canal+, which if there was no agreement would risk, in the long term, lowering its investments. The desire of French cinema is to obtain more resources, not to lose money with more actors.

→ EXPLANATION . SVOD platforms will finance creation to the tune of 250 to 300 million euros per year

You have to find an intelligent place for everyone, so that the cinema comes out on top. The other challenge is diversity: the 40 million euros must support all types of films and not just blockbusters. What shocks us is that these foreign players do not pay the same taxes and do not have the same obligations as the others. The real problem is the lack of fairness.


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