Why The Industry Should Pay Fairly

The payment of a fair remuneration right to screenwriters and directors for the exploitation of their work represents a tiny proportion of the revenue it brings in for major media groups and online platforms. But it changes everything for creators.

The growth in digital consumption for audiovisual works makes this even more affordable every day.

In Europe, the number of Video on Demand services grew to more than 3,000 platforms between 2007 and 20111, while the revenue generated increased by 1000%. Globally, the advertising revenue from online video doubled from 2011 to 20142 to reach €11.2 billion and in 2014, Netflix welcomed 13 million new users and a 26% growth in revenue3.

Unfortunately however, the creators whose hard work and talent is at the very heart of any film’s success are often forgotten. In most cases, they are not even informed of the markets in which their films are distributed and certainly not always remunerated for the subsequent uses of their works.

An unassignable and unwaivable right to remuneration would help reduce the huge differences in treatment between authors and various operators in this sector and stimulate the creation of great new work from which both parties could benefit.

Case Study: Remuneration Law in Italy

In 1997, the government introduced a mandatory remuneration law in Italy for directors and screenwriters, payable by users for every use of their works. In the following years, SIAE – the society authorised to collect and distribute these royalties – received new  revenues for screenwriters and directors averaging €23 million per year that served as a catalyst for success.

The industry experienced a huge uplift with the number of Italian films produced rising by more than 70%4 between 1996 and 2014 to rank fifth in Europe. Cinema attendance reached 100 million admissions and the market share for nationally produced films rose to 27%; second only behind the USA. This positive trend affected television too with Italy’s two leading media groups broadcast 562 hours of fiction in 2011-12 compared to just 283 hours in 1996-975.

These increases did not come at the expense of quality and Italian works enjoyed something of a rebound:

  • An Oscar for P. Sorrentino’s “La Grande Bellezza”
  • A Golden Lion awarded to G. Rossi’s documentary “Sacro GRA”
  • Domestic films claimed 1st and 3rd places in the 2013 Italian box office charts
  • International awards for Italian film Gomorrah and its spin-off TV series

casestudy_italy
References:

1 MAVISE, European Audiovisual Observatory – 31/12/2013
2 “Remuneration of authors and performers for the use of their works and the fixations of their performances” study prepared by Europe Economics-IVIR for the European Commission
3 Le Figaro – January 2015
4 European Audiovisual Observatory 2014, film industry report 2013 produced by the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIBAC)
5 European Audiovisual Observatory, Fiction on European TV channels 2006-2013
6 OFI (Osservatorio della Fiction Italiana, Strategie contingenti, la fiction italiana/L’Italiana nella fiction, Ventiquattresimo rapporto annuale, stagione 2011-2012) and ANICA

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