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Digital commissioner promises reform of EU MEDIA programme

The European Union’s MEDIA multi-year programme to support the development and distribution of films, TV series and audiovisual media needs to be adapted to the needs of the emerging digital economy and the European single digital market, according to digital economy and society commissioner Mariya Ivanova Gabriel.

Mariya Ivanova Gabriel

Mariya Ivanova Gabriel

Speaking at the European Film Forum, Gabriel said that the MEDIA programme, which has disbursed €2.4 billion in the 26 years of its existence, needed to evolve to match the changes taking place as a result of digital distribution.

Gabriel said that the MEDIA budget was too small to have a durable effect on the European audiovisual industry and the financing of projects had been too fragmented. She said the programme had also suffered from inflexibility that had discouraged cooperation between players in different parts of the media value chain.

Gabriel also said there was room for improvement in terms of supporting beneficiaries with the scale necessary to develop on a European and global level.

She said that the programme would prioritise projects that reached a significant audience and reflected cultural diversity. She said that the programme needed to embrace the digital revolution more decisively.

Gabriel said that securing  “sufficient budget” was a key goal and that, given numerous challenges including Brexit, it would be necessary “to put all means at our disposal” to secure the best budget possible for the programme.