French TV exports, coproductions & presales sustained losses in 2002

FRANCE: Exports and foreign investments in French production decreased by -16 per cent and -40 per cent respectively in 2002, after more than ten years of overall growth.

This was concluded in the preliminary version of the annual report prepared by TVFI and INA, in collaboration with the CNC and the Direction du Développement des Médias. The complete report will be released in December 2003.

Investments in production and broadcasters' acquisition capacities suffered from sluggish advertising revenues in a difficult economic climate due to a slowdown in global trade. The sharp decrease of the German market, which accounts for three quarters of the drop in the sale of finished programs, the decline in the field of animation are last year's most striking features. These two trends outweighed the good results in some territories (South East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America) and the overall growth of documentary.

Western Europe, which still accounts for nearly two thirds of French program sales, witnessed the most significant decline in export revenues. Germany remained France's largest single client, ahead of the UK, despite a drop in sales from 32.3 to 17.6 million euros. Central Europe achieved uneven results with a clear sales growth Russia (CIS). Pre-funding both in coproduction and presales were equally down in Europe and North America, France's main co-production partners.

A number of territories showed promising growth rates, including Asia, which was on a par with North America with 9.3 million euros worth of sales. In spite of the economic situation, exports to Latin America rose up to 4.7 million euros, compared to 4.1 million the year before, thanks partly to sales to regional satellite broadcasters.

Animation, in spite of a significant drop in 2002, remained the top-selling genre for the 7th consecutive year, with 45 million euros and 42 per cent of total exports. Co-productions and pre-sales decreased even more markedly with 50 million euros compared to 112 in 2001. Animation is also ahead of the other genres in pre-funding, even though drama came a close second last year.

Drama sales were slightly on the up (22.9 million euros compared to 22.4 in 2001), but pre-funding decrease, partly due to the lack of exceptional programs such as Napoleon in 2001. Documentaries only achieved an increase in co-production and pre-sales (+70 per cent) thanks to ambitious and expensive international projects. Sales figures stood at 23,5 million euros down from to 28,2 millions in 2001, as revenues were partly transferred from sales to pre-funding.

Although video and DVD sales are not included in the report, revenues in this field are estimated somewhere between 10 and 15 per cent of total sales in 2002, i.e. over 10 million euros. The market has been clearly on the rise

for the last two years and has a significant growth potential. The sales of rights over the Internet remained stable with no significant increase of business in 2002.

In a difficult context, French companies have once again proved dynamic as over half of them increased their international earnings in 2002.

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