Flexibility

Manage risk by negotiating diverse production arrangements

Policy areas: Intellectual property; terms of trade; media policy

MPA members sign thousands of deals with European and non-European producers every year to develop, produce, finance, and distribute films and television series. These deals ensure the sector continues to thrive, providing millions of jobs across Europe. However, like all investments in our sector, they carry considerable risk.

Not every film or series succeeds. Managing risk is part of our industry’s DNA. Production partners do this by creatively developing different production arrangements, depending on the nature, the creative value and cost of a project. In this balance of risks and rewards between production partners, IP rights are a driver for investment.

We believe that the best policy to maximise these investments is to ensure production partners maintain the freedom to negotiate and mitigate risk exposure. This allows the allocation of some or all of the risksand exploitation rights of corresponding valueto partners who are prepared to shoulder them, and absorb losses should the production fail to achieve financial success. (For more information, please see MPA submission of October 2023 to European Commission’s AV Stakeholder Roundtable).

Recommendation:

Ensure that production partners retain the freedom to reach agreements regarding intellectual property (IP) on projects, that reflect their appetite for risk and their individual priorities.

Support exclusive territorial licensing

Policy areas: Territoriality; geoblocking

Over time, the market has driven the exponential growth of European films and AV content, giving European audiences an expansive choice of ‘over 12,000 catch-up TV services; over 3,000 On-Demand Audiovisual Services (VOD) beyond the experience offered by over 10,000 European cinemas on more than 27,000 screens.’ Our members are committed to improving the production and availability of AV content across the EU.

Copyright is granted on a national territorial basis in the EU, and exclusive territorial licensing is crucial in enabling investment in AV content.

The reasons for excluding the AV sector from the 2018 Geoblocking Regulation, including to cater for local languages and cultural preferences, remain valid. The 2017 Portability Regulation already enables consumers to travel abroad with their subscriptions.

The introduction of pan-European licences would destabilize the production market, publishing and distribution, ignoring the essential contribution of small players who currently represent most of the market.

Recommendation:

The EU should preserve exclusive territorial licensing in the AV sector.

Enable competitive offers adapted to consumers’ needs and preferences

Policy areas: Consumer policy; sustainability

MPA members are clear that treating consumers fairly is not only the right thing to do, but is also good for business in a highly competitive market. This is why their content offers are designed to be easy to use and provide consumers with important information in a transparent and upfront way, avoiding any misleading or unfair commercial practices.

Regulation should support this approach and not hinder consumers accessing increasingly competitive offers. The existing legal framework has proved itself both strong and sufficiently flexible to adapt to continually evolving business models, incentivizing the provision of a high level of consumer protection.

Recommendation:

The EU should recognise the benefit to consumers of the flexibility in the existing consumer protection framework, and avoid introducing new, heavy-handed measures related to, for example, contract cancellation or withdrawal, which could disincentivise investment and limit consumer choice.