After months of heated negotiations, a new agreement on the chronology of the media is put in place in France. What are the new broadcast windows now planned?
The end of a long marathon. This Monday, January 24, French cinema and the main representatives of the audiovisual sector signed a new agreement on the chronology of the Media at the Ministry of Culture. For the record, itit governs the dates on which films can be shown, online and on television in particular, in the months following their cinema release. These rules, which must protect creation, have been the subject of intense negotiations since the rise of streaming platforms, which are upsetting the situation.
Negotiations all the more complicated in fact that they had to integrate a new parameter: the transposition of a European directive, called SMA. Acronym of “Audiovisual Media Services”, it aims in particular to relax the restrictions applicable to television, and to extend certain audiovisual rules to video-sharing platforms as well as to audiovisual content shared on certain social media services.
The framework of the new agreement
According to our colleagues from boxofficepro, who witnessed the signing of the agreement, the theater’s operating window remains unchanged. Or an exclusivity of 4 months, reduced to 3 months if the film has registered less than 100,000 admissions in 4 weeks. At the end of this window opens that of the video on demand to the act (VOD) and the physical edition (DVD and Blu-ray).
“The capital stone of the agreement is the absolute need to preserve this cultural and economic capital that is the cinema in our country” welcomed Roselyne Bachelot, Minister of Culture, commenting ce new agreement signed for three years; until 2024 then. With a first assessment which will be carried out in 12 months.
“The cinema remains, in France, the place where an audiovisual work becomes a film” abounds on his side Richard Patry, the president of the FNCF, the National Federation of French Cinemas. For him, maintaining this exclusive 4-month operating window for theaters “reaffirms the French cultural exception. We have succeeded in integrating the newcomers – hitherto reluctant to share their works with the audience of the room –, while preserving the place of the old and increasing the financing capacity of French cinema “.
For pay TV channels
It is now possible, for pay-TV channels such as Canal+ or OCS, to start its broadcast window from 6 months in the event of an agreement with professional film organisations. This is precisely the case for Canal+, signatory of an agreement last December, which planned to extend “until at least 2024 the partnership between Canal+ and the French cinema sector”, and one “guaranteed investment of more than 600 million euros for the next three years in French and European cinema for Canal+ and Ciné+”. That is €200 million per year, tacitly renewable. We came back in detail here on this agreement.
If there is no agreement, these channels will be able to broadcast the works 9 months after their theatrical release.
For Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+
Netflix: 15 months after the theatrical release
Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video: 17 months after the theatrical release
Until today, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ or AppleTV+ could broadcast a film on their platform 36 months after its theatrical release; or 17 months if these streaming players had invested heavily in production.
In June 2021, the decree relating to on-demand audiovisual media services (SMAD), with which the platforms mentioned above are associated, specified that they had to contribute 20% of their French turnover to French and European creation, including 80% for audiovisual production and 20% for cinema. In other words, investing between €250 and €300 million “full year”.
These SMADs by subscription now have 3 possibilities:
- exploitation from 6 months in the event of an agreement similar to that of Canal+: commitment to pre-financing and broadcasting of European and French-language films; editorial engagement; financial commitment on the basis of a guaranteed minimum and investment diversity clause, while respecting legislation and intellectual property rights. The agreement also defines the period of exclusivity.
- an operation from 15 months, if the platform respects the legislation and the right of the intellectual property and concluded an agreement, which cannot exceed 7 months of exclusivity…