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How is European fiction financed? New comprehensive sample analysis gives the insights…

European Audiovisual Observatory publishes new free report on the financing of European fiction films
Strasbourg 19/12/2018
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How is European fiction financed? New comprehensive sample analysis gives the insights…

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Based on the actual budget analysis of 445 European live-action fiction films released in 2016, this is probably the largest pan-European data sample available to date on the financing of European fiction films. This new report is the fruit of an extensive collaboration project between the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and the European Film Agency Research Network (EFARN).

     It finds that:

  • The average (mean) budget of a European theatrical fiction film released in 2016 amounted to EUR 3.17 million;
  • The two most important financing sources clearly were direct public funding and broadcaster investments, representing 29% and 25% of total financing, respectively;
  • Direct public funding in film financing decreases with increasing market size whereas pre-sales tend to be most important in large markets.

The authors aim at providing concrete figures on how European theatrical fiction films are being financed. This analysis offers a big-picture, a pan-European perspective, and complements work done at national levels. It provides unique fact-based insights on a wide variety of research questions, from the quantification of the average budget of theatrical European fiction films, to the importance of individual financing sources. The Observatory and EFARN members regard the outcome of this sample analysis as a big step forward in providing reliable facts and insights on the financing of European fiction films.

  1. Theatrical fiction budgets in Europe

The data sample studied [see methodological notes below] suggests that the mean budget of a European theatrical fiction film released in 2016 represented EUR 3.17 million while the median sample budget amounted to EUR 2.07 million. However, average budgets differ widely among countries. Not surprisingly, average budgets are higher in larger markets and lower in countries with lower box-office potential, as exploitation in national markets remains key for most films. The median budget of a European fiction film originating in France, Germany, Italy or the UK (the large markets included in the sample) amounted to EUR 3.3 million in 2016, compared to EUR 1.6 million for fiction films produced in a medium-sized European market and EUR 0.9 million for fiction films from small markets.

  1. Financing sources for theatrical fiction films in Europe

In 2016, the financing of European theatrical fiction films relied primarily on five financing sources: direct public funding; broadcaster investment; producer investment; pre-sales; and fiscal incentives. The two most important financing sources clearly were direct public funding and broadcaster investment, which accounted for 29% and 25% of total financing, respectively.

  1. The structure of financing for theatrical fiction films in Europe

There appear to be significant structural differences among countries concerning how theatrical fiction films are financed. Some of these differences are apparently linked to market size. The two most obvious differences concern direct public funding and pre-sales. The data clearly suggests that the weight of direct public funding in film financing decreases with increasing market size and vice versa. While comprising only 24% of total financing in the four large sample markets, public funding accounted for 43% in medium-sized and 58% in small sample markets. In contrast, the importance of pre-sales (other than those to broadcasters) as a financing source decreases with market size. Pre-sales tend to be most important in large markets, where they in 2016 accounted for 17%, compared to ‘only’ 11% in medium-sized and 8% in small sample markets.

Methodology

The analysis is based on a data sample comprising detailed financing plans for 445 European live-action fiction films - theatrically released in 2016 - from 21 European countries. The data sample includes both 100% national as well as European-majority-led co-productions. It covers a cumulative financing volume of EUR 1.41 billion. The data sample is estimated to cover 41% of the total number of European fiction films released in 2016.


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