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The MEDIA Programme of the European Union is designed to support the European film and audiovisual industries. It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond. The current MEDIA 2007 programme (2007-2013) is the fourth multi-annual programme since 1991. (MEDIA 95 (1991 – 1995), MEDIA II (1996 – 2000), MEDIA Plus (2001 – 2006), MEDIA 2007 (2007 – 2013)). Additionally, MEDIA Mundus (2011-2013) was created for the cooperation between Europe and third countries. A new seven years' programme is currently being negotiated within the EU institutions on the basis of the Commission's proposal of a new programme for Creative Europe. From MEDIA European producers can apply for grants to film-, televisions- and interactive projects, festivals and markets can apply for promotion events on behalf of European films, distributors and sales agents for support to launch non-national films in European theatres. Training providers may apply for training activities for increasing the competence and cooperation among the professionals, and MEDIA Mundus provides for closer collaboration between Europe and audiovisual players in third countries.
In general the MEDIA Programme of the European Union supports phases before and after the production of audiovisual works. The production phase is mainly financed by national and regional financiers but also finds funds in the private sector. MEDIA's main objectives are:
- to strengthen the development and the quality of European audiovisual works, reflecting and respecting Europe’s cultural identity and heritage
- to increase the circulation of European works within Europe and beyond
- to strengthen the promotion and competitiveness of European films
- to facilitate cooperation and networking and access to finance
- to encourage the development and use of digital technologies.
The target groups are the many different players of the audiovisual industries: Producers, distributors, sales agents, film schools, training providers, film festivals, film markets, cinema owners, technology providers and others.
In order to obtain its objectives, the MEDIA Programmes offer a variety of support schemes:
Training MEDIA provides international professional training opportunities by co-financing over 60 courses in script and project development; management, legal and finance issues; marketing and distribution; new media and new technology; animation; and documentaries. Information on calls about Training on the MEDIA programme official website
Development fundingMEDIA supports independent European production companies in the development of animation, creative documentaries or fiction projects intended for European and international TV and theatrical markets. Support is provided for single projects or a slate of three to five projects. Similar support is available for interactive works developed specifically to complement an audiovisual project. Information on calls about Development funding on the MEDIA programme official website
Access to Finance “i2i Audiovisual” facilitates access to financing from banks and other financial institutions by subsidising part of the production-related financial costs, such as insurance, financial interest and completion bonds. Information on calls about "i2i Audivisual" on the MEDIA programme official website
MEDIA Production Guarantee Fund This fund facilitates access to private sources of financing for film producers by guaranteeing part of their bank loans. The scheme is implemented by the Institut pour le Financement du Cinéma et des Industries Culturelles in France and the Sociedad de Garantía recíproca para el Sector Audiovisual in Spain.
Support for television broadcasting This funding encourages independent European audiovisual production companies to produce work (fiction, documentaries or animated films) that involves the participation or cooperation of at least three broadcasters – and preferably more – from several Member States. Information on calls about Television broadcasting on the MEDIA programme official website
Support for Distribution MEDIA supports the circulation of European audiovisual works across MEDIA Programme countries. Financial backing is available as automatic or selective support for distributors, automatic support for sales agents, support for Video on Demand and Digital Cinema Distribution (VOD-DCD), and support to cinemas through the Europa Cinemas network. Information on calls about Distribution on the MEDIA programme official website
Pilot Projects Pilot projects ensure that the latest developments on the information and communication technology markets are introduced and taken up by the players of the European audiovisual sector. Information on calls about Pilot Projects and VOD on the MEDIA programme official website
Market Access MEDIA supports most major markets and co-production forums in Europe in order to foster the greatest possible diversity and quality of projects and works, as well as the mobility of professionals. MEDIA also provides an umbrella stand, advisory and logistic services for European professionals at the European Film Market (Berlin), MIPTV, MIPCOM and the Marché du Film at the Festival de Cannes Information on calls about Market access on the MEDIA programme official website
Festivals Every year the MEDIA programme supports nearly one hundred festivals in Europe notable for their particularly rich and varied programme of European films, their efforts to engage with the general public and their activities involving professionals in large numbers. Information on calls about Festivals on the MEDIA programme official website
MEDIA Mundus Launched in 2011, the MEDIA Mundus programme is a broad international cooperation programme for the audiovisual industry to strengthen cultural and commercial relations between Europe’s film industry and filmmakers from other countries. The EU was providing EUR 5 million of funding per year from 2011 to 2013 for projects submitted by audiovisual professionals from Europe in cooperation with their counterparts from the rest of the world. MEDIA Mundus finances training, networking and market events for professionals and encourages distribution and circulation of European and international films. Information on calls about MEDIA Mundus on the MEDIA programme official website
The division of the total budget across these five action lines shows that the distribution of
European works is a clear priority. The goal is to increase their circulation outside their
originating country and worldwide.
The programme had a budget of €755 million for the 2007‒2013 period.
Budget line divide: Distribution 55%
Horizontal actions/ Pilot projects 5%/4%
Future programme: Creative Europe
The Commission’s proposal for a Creative Europe programme for the period 2014-2020 brought the current culture and audiovisual programmes under a single umbrella with distinct identities. The newly proposed programme consists of three strands: one for MEDIA, one for Culture and a cross-sectoral strand to promote cross-border policy cooperation and foster innovative approaches to audience building and access to finance.