The so-called Smad decree (on-demand audiovisual media services) specifying the obligations of video platforms was published in the “Official Journal” on Wednesday. A decisive step to make Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney and others contribute financially to French audiovisual creation has thus been taken.
This text does not show any major changes compared to the project presented at the end of last year. Video-on-demand services must devote at least 20% of their turnover in France to financing the production of European cinematographic and audiovisual works or of French original expression. A rate increased to 25% for platforms offering films less than 12 months after their theatrical release.
The obligation is raised to a minimum of 20% for the cinema. And, a significant part of the contribution (two thirds in the audiovisual sector) will go to independent production.
By moving the text only marginally, the government is therefore ignoring the remarks of the European Commission, which had expressed several reservations in April on this decree, deeming it overall too favorable to producers and not sufficiently balanced in the direction of platforms. “The government considered that the remarks of the European Commission did not justify a frank change of the text. He has enough answers to give him in the event of a dispute, ”says a good connoisseur of the subject.
The Smad decree had to be published in order to come into effect, as planned, on 1er July and that the obligations of the platforms are triggered immediately, over half a year, therefore, initially.
A recourse of the platforms?
It remains to be seen how the platforms will welcome this decree while some were critical on certain points… and whether there is a risk that they will attack this text in Brussels or before the French courts. The American giants are analyzing the decree in depth.
One of the important parameters that can trigger a possible sling has to do with the current negotiations over the media timeline. But also, to the treatment that the CNC (National Center for Cinema and Animated Image) will reserve for programs financed by the American giants. Netflix, in particular, had asked that the producers of its programs have access to the CNC support account and to the audiovisual tax credit. The public authorities are open to it.