Professional Training for the European Audiovisual Industry
MEDIA 1991 – 2013
The audiovisual industry: an expanding economic sector
All around the world, governments recognise the capacity of this industry to create jobs, stimulate entrepreneurs and drive economic activity, boosting local skills development and contributing significantly to tourism and even social transformation.
European public support has undoubtedly helped to raise the market share of European films in Europe which has increased from 20% in 2000 to a current average of 27%. Since the US major studios have not relented in their efforts in the meantime, the market share of European films could have been much worse without EU support.
Support for the European industry
The success of the European film industry as a cultural and economic force has been crucially supported by the EU's implementation of the MEDIA Programme since 1991. Its main objective was and remains to support the industry's competitiveness and to promote European linguistic and cultural diversity. Actions have been concentrated on
- distribution of European films across borders
- promotion of audiovisual works
- content development and training
Production support has been left to national public funding bodies.
Training as an integral support measure
Professional training within the MEDIA Programme has focused on the following priorities:
- script development
- business, management and legal skills in relation to creative producing
- improving knowledge of new technologies for producing and distributing audiovisual programmes
Training available to the professionals
- More than 500 training initiatives including film schools have been identified in Europe
- 11% of them have been supported by MEDIA.
Since the film industry mainly consists of micro-companies and free-lancers, training is in the hands of the individual. Given the unstable income of most film professionals it is vital that training opportunities be offered at an affordable price. In this respect, MEDIA's support for training enhanced the professional training offer available in Europe and made it accessible to the individual. Without MEDIA support many initiatives would not exist or would not have been affordable.
MEDIA 2007 – 2013
The MEDIA Programme 2007 has an overall budget of 755m €.
- 7% of the budget is allocated to training
- 58% to distribution and promotion (this part has been fostered since 2000)
- 34% to the development and financing of productions
- 1% to pilot projects
The yearly MEDIA budget rose from 62 m € in 1996 – 2000 to 108 m € in 2007 – 2013... which is around the budget of one Hollywood feature film. Meanwhile the yearly budget for the actions in professional training was actually reduced: It was around 9 m € since 1996,was raised by 10% in 2001 and cut back to 9 m € in 2007.
According to the MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training evaluation, professional training shows a very good cost-effectiveness ratio.
MEDIA 2007 aims to build on the success of the programme since 1991 and to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing and changing sector shaped by new technologies – development of interactive works, digital distribution of films, web communities and open media – new players and participating countries, market fragmentation and difficulties of access to financing. Its strategic aim remains to develop the economic potential of the film industry and to build a diverse European culture.
The majority of action lines for professional training have been maintained. Since 2010, with the imaginative development of MEDIA Mundus, it is possible for non-EU participants to take part in the training programmes.
Participants and Programmes
On average, 50% of the participants come from the 5 countries with the highest production capacity, 35% from the countries with medium to low production capacity and 15% from new member states. The support for training is equitably distributed between participating countries when the number of trainees is compared to the population.
Of 63 programmes, 11 specifically address experienced professionals and 7 address newcomers. The proposed training is targeted not only to professions such as producers and screenwriters but also to directors, DoPs, editors, technical professions such as postproduction managers, VFX supervisors, animation artists, and to distributors, marketing & legal experts, and trainers.
Training as support for project development
- 23 training programmes are project based
- 400 film projects are being developed within the training in the programmes each year.
85% of trained companies have also applied for development funding, showing a positive link between training and development. Film projects developed within training schemes have better chances to be produced. Training is therefore an advantage since it enhances quality and contributes to shaping the projects according to market needs.
Training and networking: building a European culture
The networking aspect of training and the building of transnational relations has been one of the most successful results of the MEDIA programme's support. Training workshops strengthen the European dimension via non-national subjects, participants and teaching staff. Participants develop cross-border-thinking and long term co-producing relationships and thus make a massive contribution to building a truly European cinema culture.
Relevance of training to the needs of the industry
MEDIA training initiatives have become a label of quality, they are practical and highly relevant to current and future industry needs. Participants appreciate the quality of the tutors and high-level experts.
INTO THE FUTURE: 2014 – 2020
Training is a major factor in the success of the European film industry and it must remain an integral part of Community support. Professional training will be even more necessary during this period of rapid change and can make a decisive contribution to the continued success of the European industry. Its financing should therefore even be intensified.
The European film industry consists of approximately 300'000 professionals and 2'000 of them participate in training initiatives supported by MEDIA each year. For the future cultural and economic efficacy of a fast changing industry this number must be at least maintained.
New forms of training for a new century
During the next decade training providers will be both reflecting changing industry needs and helping to reinvent the industry. New training formats are being designed which merge real production with training, create interdisciplinary labs, build bridges between old and new media, between creatives and technicians, financiers and lawyers.
Content and project development
Even in a world that is fast and constantly evolving, certain basics remain stable. The story will remain at the very heart of every audiovisual success. In the future traditional formats will coexist with new interactive ones. The need for a wide variety of professionally developed and highly imaginative projects has never been more urgent. Development within training projects must continue to play a key role.
Audience, marketing, social media
The relationship between producers, distributors and cinemas is being transformed. Producers are moving closer to their audience through the use of social media and learning how to use viral marketing and crowd sourcing. Community managers and audience experts will increasingly be involved in the development process to start building direct relationships with the audience.
Opening up to new target groups
The central target group of training in the audiovisual sector will always be the creative triangle of producer – writer – director. But future training will also have to address new target groups: decision-makers, funders and policy makers, the new professions from the digital imaging technician or the data wrangler to the community manager, blogger and story architect; the festival manager and other professionals involved in promoting films; the private and public service broadcasters, the non-European participants to create truly international training, to really react to globalization and to be able to answer the global challenges.
MEDIA Mundus and internationalism
Europe is one of the cultural and financial centres of increasingly globalised film and media industries. We welcome the birth of MEDIA Mundus as a means of bringing EU and non EU professionals together in the belief that this can only reinforce the diversity of films available to European and non European audiences and, through training projects, will create long term co-producing relations across continents which will bring both economic and cultural benefits. It is a forward looking programme precisely designed for 21st century global challenges.
- Professional training enhances the quality of film projects and contributes to shaping projects to market needs
- It has to be seen as an integral part in the development and production, distribution and marketing process of an audiovisual product
- Activities contribute to building professional networks and a truly European culture
- MEDIA training initiatives have become a label of quality and are complementary to national initiatives
- Without European support, many training initiatives would not be affordable to the professionals
- Professional training has shown a very good cost-effectiveness ratio
- The budget available for professional training has seen a major reduction since 2007
- Professional training is becoming more necessary in this period of rapid change
- Its financing should rather be intensified, the number of participants at least maintained
- A Report of « Into the Future », Think Tank about Training in a Changing World, ATC, June 2010, see www.at-coalition.org/itf/report2010.html.
- ATC Survey, October 2008, see www.at-coalition.org.
- Pierre Buigues, Valérie Rabassa: European Perspective on the Media Sector: Competition Versus Regulation, July 2004.
- EACEA / MEDIA Programme of the European Union: Training and Networks 2010.
- Euréval/MCG: Final Evaluation of the MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training Programmes, Synthesis. Nov. 2007.
- Euréval/MCG: Interim Evaluation of MEDIA 2007, Final report, June 2010.
- European Audiovisual Observatory FOCUS 2010 World Film Market Trends, see www.obs.coe.int/online_publication/reports/focus2010.pdf.
- European Audiovisual Observatory, Press release, 6.5.2010, see www.obs.coe.int/about/oea/pr/mif2010_cinema.html.
- European Audiovisual Observatory, Press release, 5.5.2003, see www.obs.coe.int/about/oea/pr/mif_2002.html.
- «Les enjeux des politiques publiques du cinéma dans un contexte en mutation», Conseil de l'Europe – Forum de Cracovie sur les politiques cinématographiques, document de travail, août 2008.
- Screen Digest, June 2006.
- MEDIA Salles, European Cinema Yearbook 2009, see www.mediasalles.it/ybk09/index.html.
- Olsberg/SPI: Study of Continuous Training for Audiovisual Professionals in 32 European Countries, Final Report, London 2005.
Illustrations: Magi Wechsler
An ATC Publication [www.at-coalition.org] © ATC, March 2011