French content creators call for technology-neutral movie windows

Copyright societies representing French producers, directors, authors and content creators have called for a reduction in the theatrical release window for movies to three months and an alignment of linear and non-linear pay TV distribution on a technology-neutral basis.

The groups, the ARP, SACD, SRF, SPI and UPC, have collectively called for identical windows for non-linear and linear distribution, along with a clarification of the definition of ‘subscriber’ to encompass all viewers having access to works however the work is made available.

The group said a reduction in the theatrical release window would meet with public approval, with two thirds favouring a three-month limit between theatrical release and availability of VOD platforms.

Dominique D’Hinnin

The organisations were responding to the presentation of the report compiled by Eutelsat chairman Dominique D’Hinnin on the reform of France’s restrictive windowing regime, the recommendations of which were billed as a compromise.

The recommended changes would see SVOD players that contribute to France’s content creation system gain access to movies only after 15 months – a significant reduction from the current 36 months but one that fall short of matching the pay TV window.

The report has recommended a reduction in the time pay TV outfit Canal+ must wait to air movies it co-financed on its channels from 10 months to seven months, with a window of six months in which to show them.

The authors of the report had reportedly wanted to maintain a technology-neutral stance, but had finally stopped short of recommending that on opposition from Canal+ and free-to-air broadcasters.

The ARP and SACD immediately responded by saying that such a regime would disincentivise new players from entering the market and supporting content creation, and do nothing to encourage global players such as Netflix to sign up to content creation obligations.

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