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Mar 19

FRENCH MEDIA STATUTORY WINDOWS – Professionals have until March 19th to give their opinion on mediators’ compromise scenario

Mediators Dominique D’Hinnin and François Hurard presented their proposal reforming French media statutory windows.

In 2017, Culture and Communication Ministry @MinistereCC @FrancoiseNyssen entrusted Dominique D’Hinnin and François Hurard with a mediation mission on French media statutory windows, in order to update decree of July 9th 2009 enacted pursuant to article 30-7 of the French Code for Cinema Industry, which includes the agreement from July 6th 2006 related to the reorganization of media statutory windows.

After several months of work, the two mediators presented their “compromise scenario” on Friday the 9th of March 2018. This reorganization aims: to shorten release “windows”, to allow continuous video-on-demand exploitation, and to make the access to some release “windows” conditional to operators’ contractual commitments. Regarding video-on-demand subscription, the proposal distinguishes between “virtuous” online video platforms (which comply with strict commitments related to their participation in the financing of French creation) and “non virtous” platforms, the latter being delayed for several months before reaching their release “windows”. The new draft of media statutory windows, framing the distribution of movies released in French theaters, is as followed:

  • 1st Windows:

Exclusive right of exploitation for theaters: 4 months (by way of exception, exclusivity can be shortened to 3 months if the film hasn’t exceeded a certain number of viewers);

  • 2nd Windows:

Right of exploitation for VOD and Video release (without subscription platform): 3 months after theatrical release for most movies, and with a possibility to maintain it in a film catalogue without any time limit;

  • 3rd Windows:

Right of exploitation for Pay-Tv: 7 months after theatrical release (6 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months), subject to renewal of interprofessional agreement for the period of validity of the new technology;

  • 4th Windows:

2nd Windows for Pay-Tv: diffusion 15 months after theatrical release (13 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months), subject to renewal of interprofessional agreement ;

Windows for “virtuous” SVOD platforms: diffusion 15 months after theatrical release (13 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months), under certain conditions including: compliance with French law, agreement with the CSA (Superior Council of the Audiovisual), payment of CNC’s tax (National Center for Cinema and Moving Image), signature of an agreement with professional organizations, payment of a guaranteed minimum per subscriber, etc.;

  • 5th Windows:

Right of exploitation for Free-Tv: 19 months after theatrical release (17 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months) subject to the signing of interprofessional agreement;

  • 6th Windows:

Right of exploitation for national DTT channels and for certain SVOD: diffusion 27 months after theatrical release (24 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months);

  • 7th Windows:

Right of exploitation for other SVOD: diffusion 35 months after theatrical release (31 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months), and possible diffusion delay shorten to 29 months subject to commitment to purchase a minimum of European cinematographic and audiovisual work;

  • 8th Windows:

Right of exploitation for Free-SVOD platforms: Diffusion 43 months after theatrical release (38 months when the film is removed from theaters within 3 months), and possible diffusion delay shortened to 36 months.

Professionals have until March 19th, 7pm, to address their opinions. If a favorable consensus is reached, a final report will be submitted in early April 2018.

Canal+ can be pleased of the new scheme suggested for media statutory windows. Indeed, the gap set up between the first “windows” for linear Pay-Tv and SVOD gives a competitive advantage to the French group, intended to foster its investments (6/7 months, instead of 10 months after theatrical release yet). Especially since, unlike American platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, Canal+ already meets the criteria of « virtue » inspired by the interprofessional agreements signed in 2015 between Canal + and French film professionals. In the event where global platforms like Netflix remain « non-virtuous » according to the agreement, which is probable since they are unlikely to adhere to the conditions and commitments for 15 months, their diffusion of film will still be delayed up to 3 years after theatrical release.

Salomé Ricordel, Marianne Lecron, Rodolphe Boissau for ATURQUOISE