Putting the spotlight on European cinema 

Jean-Marie Cavada: By showing different cultures and ways of life, films can play a crucial role in forging a European identity.  

Europe's cinema could reach a wider public by a more efficient distribution of films and other audiovisual materials online. That is the view of French Christian-Democrat Jean-Marie Cavada, whose report on this was adopted in plenary on Tuesday 11 September. We talked to him about how online distribution could make all the difference.

Which concrete steps are needed to improve the online availability of audiovisual works?

Online distribution can help to reach a larger audience and to circulate the works more widely abroad.

For this it will be essential to develop subtitling, ease cross-border licensing, establish new business models and introduce innovative payment methods, especially for small and medium-sized companies.

How could online distribution make European films more popular?

Works would be available more quickly in new markets, allowing them to become more popular and create new business opportunities at the same time.

I also believe in the unifying power of films. At a time when nationalism is on the rise in Europe, cinema is an effective way of  understanding and learning about others. By showing different cultures and ways of life, films can play a crucial role in forging a European identity.

Would widespread online distribution of films not pose a threat to small art cinemas?

Cinemas will remain important throughout Europe. Smaller theatres have always been instrumental in showing art house films, which helps to promote the cultural wealth and diversity of our continent.

My report calls for the distribution chain to remain intact so that cinema operators are guaranteed a share. Nevertheless, the reports recommends more flexibility in exploiting business opportunities in order not to hamper the development of online distribution. It's all about striking the right balance.

How can be author's rights protected if online distribution becomes the norm?

The Parliament recognises the importance of protecting copyright as it is an essential tool for maintaining creativity in the cultural and audiovisual sectors.

I see no conflict between developing the digital market and safeguarding copyright, but it will be necessary for people working in the industry to adapt to these changes.

The EU can help with this transition, especially by creating the right conditions needed for complying with the law, facilitating cross-border licensing and simplifying the procedure for copyright collecting.

We should focus on creating an environment favourable to the development of a single digital market, both legally and economically.