EU to challenge Hollywood rule

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The European Commission is exploring ways to launch a new programme to increase the share of European movies in markets outside the EU, which is currently very marginal.

The project on the table, branded Media Mundus, foresees expenditure of €60 million from 2011 onwards to promote cooperation with third countries to improve the penetration of EU movies into their markets and vice versa.

Although it is foreseen that the project will officially be open to everybody, it is clear that it is meant to counter US dominance in the global cinema market. In the European Union, for example, admissions to watch Hollywood movies accounted for over 60% of the total in 2007, more than double the figure for EU films.

Moreover, EU movies are not very successful outside the bloc. According to figures provided by the Commission, the extra-EU market share of European movies is between 2% and 5%.

Media Mundus will aim to make EU movies more visible abroad through agreements with third countries, particularly with Canada, Australia, Japan, India and China, according to the spokesperson of Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding.

The desirable outcome for the European Commission would be to increase the presence of Canadian or Japanese movies in the EU market to counter American over-representation, and conversely to increase EU cinema shares in these markets. More co-productions with these countries are also suggested.

The launch of the programme is currently being debated, with an online public consultation that will conclude on 15 June. The Commission has already invested €2 million into a pilot project to test the functioning of the new initiative. The next two years are supposed to be used for extra experimenting, and the definitive launch should occur in 2011.

Media Mundus is named after the successful ‘Media’ programme which promotes EU movies within the bloc, and boosts the funding of films like 2008 Cannes Palme d’Or winner ‘Entre Les Murs‘ and Grand Prix du Jury winner ‘Gomorra’ as well as Oscar winners such as the Austro-German ‘The Counterfeiters’ (Die Fälscher) and the French ‘La Vie en Rose‘.

The programme also intends to take the Erasmus Mundus EU initiative as a model, by which Brussels extended its university programme to non-EU countries.

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