The European Union will support the digitization of small cinemas

Culture ministers of the EU agreed on Thursday to finance the digitization of small cinemas , in order to avoid competition disappear before multiscreen complexes and promote the distribution of European productions.

European Culture holders have agreed on a text of conclusions described as “urgent and necessary” the transition to digital cinema and highlight the need for “public policies that support this change.”

The EU hopes the digital conversion to revitalize the European film industry, both at production and distribution as well as to ensure the maintenance of “rich cultural and linguistic diversity” of European films .

At the moment, from Brussels the creation of new financial instruments to support the digitization is discarded , so that countries which must pay for this process or make use of existing European aid, as suggested by the European Commission will be.

“I encourage Member States to make use of the Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for digitization , ” said European Commissioner for Culture, Androulla Vassiliou , at a news conference. Bitte Button anklicken and read more below:

Transition to avoid monopolies

Countries, meanwhile, “are studying whether new instruments would be needed or whether it could use existing for scanning , ” explained the Spanish Minister of Culture, Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde .

In Spain, “we are seeing how this funding can be faced, always of course in coordination with the autonomous communities,” the minister told the media.

Digitization contribute “to improve competitiveness and increase the circulation of European cinema , ” said Gonzalez-Sinde, who also noted that new technologies will serve to “increase and preserve and promote diversity in the audiovisual passage.”

The minister stressed the importance of the digital transition “does not involve the establishment of dominant movie monopolies that will dominate the other rooms due to lack of resources.”

Currently in the EU about 30,000 movie screens , of which only 15% has a digital projector, according to the EU executive, who noted the high cost of this technology as the main obstacle for installation in smaller rooms.

A digital cinema projector costs about 75,000 euros , which represents a significant investment for independent cinema halls or “author”.

Grants for European film champions

In the text approved today, the ministers propose to subsidize small cinemas that program “a considerable proportion” of European cinema, as well as cinemas located in “less populated” areas or where the cultural offer “is limited”.

In this sense, Gonzalez-Sinde stated that “there are undoubtedly small cities, where the exhibitor, the owner of the cinema, does not have the financial capacity to undertake a transformation as would have a large conglomerate of multisalas.”

The ministers also plan to give some kind of incentive to those small cinemas that are associated to share the costs of acquiring digital material.

In addition to the ERDF funds, countries undertake to explore other avenues of funding will normally not used for film and creating loans for scanning managed by the European Investment Bank .

Likewise, aid is suggested for the incorporation of new cinema technologies and rooms dedicated to the European film heritage.

In 2009, European cinemas raised 6,300 million euros , 12% more than the previous year, of which 27% were generated by films produced in the EU.

Although European cinema collects less than a third of total box office revenue, the number of films produced and distributed in the EU far exceeds that of non-EU productions.

According to the European Audiovisual Observatory in 2008 they were distributed in the EU 167 American films, compared to 726 produced in the Twenty – seven .

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