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Animation in Europe calls on streaming platforms to invest in local animations

Left to right: Philippe Alessandri, Moe Honan, Dirk Beinhold, Ivan Agenjo and Pablo Jordi

ANNECY: Animation in Europe, the federation of animation producers in Europe, has called on streaming platforms to invest in animated projects from the region with the same urgency it is backing local scripted dramas.

Animation in Europe said it welcomed the implementation of the European Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive – which subjects foreign media to investment obligations – in 14 European countries, but called for an increase of investments by platforms in European animation.

The federation noted that European animated films and series are performing well in the international market, for example in Germany where a handful of family animation films, representing under 5% of film production, generate half of its feature film exports.

In France, animated series account for nearly half of audiovisual revenues abroad, even though they only constitute about 10% of the total volume of national production across all genres.

This contrasts sharply, according to Animation in Europe, with the very small number of European animated series and films commissioned by platforms, even though these platforms are investing heavily in the production of local dramas.

The federation explained that buyers from US streaming platforms focus their investments on national dramas to attract new subscribers. Children’s content, perceived as more universal, is directed by the headquarters in LA which engages with US studios, it said.

In France, the situation, while similar, is slightly more positive due to a decree emphasising “diversity of genres” in the investment obligations of streaming platforms. Thus, Disney+, Netflix and Amazon have committed to supporting animation, but at levels Animation in Europe describes as very low – from 0.56% to 1.28% of their annual turnover in France.

The majority of animation produced in France for these platforms is characterised by service work, as seen in the case of Netflix series Arcane.

Animation in Europe pointed to a similar trend in Ireland, where service production is offered for series on US platforms, such as Netflix’s adaptation of video game Cuphead, which is produced by Ireland’s Lighthouse Studios.

In Spain, there have been only two original productions for Netflix and one adult animation, Pobre Diablo, for Warner Bros Discovery’s Max.

The rest of Europe’s animation industry seems to profit even less from US streaming platforms, Animation in Europe concluded, noting that not one single production has been commissioned by a streamer in Germany.

Animation in Europe underscored a “crucial” need for more comprehensive data collection by governments and regulatory authorities across Europe. This data, it said, would “bolster the industry’s resilience in this challenging landscape, not just for survival, but to remain competitive.

“It is also essential to ensure that cultural and age diversity is thoughtfully accommodated. The association urges these entities to consistently monitor and share detailed data, such as demographics, viewership data, ratings and reviews, trending genres, subscriber growth and more.

“In light of these challenges, Animation in Europe calls on the European Union and EU member states to leverage the planned review of the AVMS Directive, set for no later than the end of 2025, to defend the position of European animation and promote a European editorial offering targeted at a young audience.”

Animation in Europe held a general meeting at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival earlier this week, where it elected its new board of directors for the next two years.

Philippe Alessandri, CEO of Watch Next Media in France, will continue to assume the role of president and will be supported by four VPs: Moe Honan, CEO of Moetion Films in Ireland; Pablo Jordi, co-founder of Finland’s Pikkukala; Ivan Agenjo, CEO of Spain’s Peekaboo Animation; and Dirk Beinhold, CEO of Akkord Film Produktion in Germany.

The federation recently expanded to 20 member countries with the addition of Estonia, Greece and Portugal.

Alessandri added: “We need to offer children, who make up over 10% of the EU’s population, content created and produced in Europe. The introduction of an animation quota would ensure fair representation of European animation on platforms.”

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