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British Video Association urges fresh approach to UK film policy

The UK government should look beyond traditional policy tools to support the domestic film industry, according to the British Video Association’s submission to Department for Culture, Media and Sports’s Film Policy Review.

The BVA believes that it is no longer sufficient for film policy to focus, on traditional measures as taxation, grants, support for training and co-productions. The trade organisation calls for a long-term strategy to stimulate an economically sustainable film industry that takes account of the impact of technological developments on the “delicate financial eco-system and on the British population’s changing viewing habits.”

Research submitted to the Film Policy Review to support the BVA’s response shows that video entertainment accounts on average for 47% of feature film revenues in the UK and an additional 10-20% in the case of independent films – a significantly higher proportion than any other single source of finance and therefore the key ingredient for the success of UK film. Total video entertainment sales across all platforms amounted to £1.012 billion in the first half of 2011, of which 87% is calculated to be from physical disc sales and rentals.

As consumers are using a growing range of devices to watch video content on physical discs and digital platforms, it is crucial that the symbiotic relationship between all industry sectors involved in delivering high quality films to audiences are all taken into consideration, says the BVA.

The professional body warns that amending copyright law to create new private copying exceptions in a separate review of IP policy would have a detrimental effect on film policy, not only by creating uncertainty for investment in new film productions but also by sending out confusing messages to the public and risking the stimulation of copyright theft, which would run counter to government policies on film piracy.

“It is important that film’s eco-system is viewed in the context of the converging audiovisual world and a key issue to consider is the potential impact the Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth which attempts to ‘pick winners’,” says Lavinia Carey, Director General of the BVA. “It’s not in the longer term interest of audiences if film or other audiovisual content is reduced to a commodity by compromising the success of video entertainment in favour of other short term aims. The BVA looks forward to supporting the Review Team’s work at the DCMS.”

Story filed 29.09.11

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