A rapidly changing audiovisual ecosystem in Europe has taken new initiatives aimed at leveling the playing field between established media companies and streaming platforms.
The European Union has adopted the new Creative Europe 2021-201 program, which is now being implemented with a budget increase that is unprecedented for the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) through a media and audiovisual action plan introduced in December. Europe’s total budget is € 723.8 billion. Its main goal is to strengthen and stimulate the European audiovisual industry, which is now facing a profound change, particularly through digitalization and green programs, a process accelerated by the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic. Directed by Elena Noira, founder and CEO of La Otra Pantalla, Spain, the two panels of the European Film Forum, held on Monday 20 September at the San Sebastian Film Festival, addressed both greening and digitization.
Presenting the forum, San Sebastian Film Festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos apologized for not holding the event at the San Telmo Museum, which is in its second year, due to ongoing health protocols.
Speaking via a video link, Lucia Ricalde, head of the European Commission’s unit for audiovisual industry and media support programs, said:
“We are entering a new normal state, but the key to this new normal is the extremely rapid and profound transformation of the audiovisual ecosystem,” he added.
Pointing to the high relevance of Monday’s panel, conducted mostly in English, Ricalde said: “The green agenda and digitization are the two drivers behind this transformation.”
The first panel, entitled ‘Green Deal: Challenges or Opportunities for the European Audiovisual Industry’, sparked a lively debate among panelists comprising Luz Molina, head of the European Green Screen Project (Interreg Europe) at Promelaga, Spain; Alvaro Longoria, VP of the European Producers Club and a producer and partner at Morena Films in Spain; Paloma Andres Urutia, co-founder of Fiction Changing the World and co-founder of Mrs. Greenfilm, Spain and Josophia Szemedi, Sustainable Consultant and Development Executive and Green Eyes Productions in Hungary.
While everyone agreed that all audiovisual companies need to educate their producers to adopt more sustainable and green protocols, there was little us on how quickly they should be adopted.
Longoria says: “We need to make these mandatory; All productions must have a green seal and it needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
“If the epidemic teaches us one thing, we can quickly adopt new protocols,” Cesaremi agrees, noting that the Covid protocol increases the budget by an average of 10% while adopting the green agenda will affect the budget by 00.1%.
Molina disagreed that greening must be progressive and that producers need to be taught to use technology to measure the carbon footprint of their production and other instruments to measure water toxicity. Available to everyone worldwide.
Szemeredy saw no reason why implementation and education could not go hand in hand.
“Morena Films has echoed five of our past movies, but how can the carbon footprint be offset? They told us we would have to plant 6,000 trees for 30 years to offset our carbon footprint, how would we do that? Longoria Stimulus, who has faced four hurdles: cost, hiring a green consultant who is seen as a nuisance on set; The question of how to measure carbon footprint takes into account the diversity of equipment in the market and in transportation.
“People get set in their own cars, the stars fly in private jets; You can’t expect coaches to fly from them, ”he said.
The second panel was on “Digitization and Big Data: Which Way Should Europe Take?”
Here, panelist Nils Alberg, co-founder and CEO, Publikum, Denmark, Emilio Sচেnchez Jaballos, Spanish atresammedia video and online platform manager and Oliver Fagan, co-founder and CEO, Usheru, Ireland, among others Advantages and disadvantages.
“The exciting thing is that we producers can apply a more direct consumer approach; In the past only cinema halls had audience information. Both Fagan and Alberg cited filmmakers they worked with who changed their film ideas after receiving feedback.
They noted that major studios had the freedom to pay more for data but not smaller. “I need 100 subscribers to break even,” Fagan noted, although he added that Facebook is a useful free resource.
Alberg argued that algorithms can provide inspiration and insight to creatives.
Sanchez warned against relying on big data for creative decisions. “At the end of the day, big data can’t be compared to field experience with experts,” he asserted.