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SYNTHESIS Final Evaluation of the MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training Programmes Synthesis of the Final Report November 2007 Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO Status of the document This document is a synthesis of the final evaluation report. The views expressed here are those of the authors. The report does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission, which may not be held responsible for the accuracy of the information reported. Neither the Commission of the European Communities, nor anyone acting under its responsibility may be held liable for the use made of this report. The evaluation team would like to thank all the participants on the Steering Committee, as well as all the individuals interviewed, especially the representatives of the MEDIA Desks and officials at other DGs, for the time they made available to us. For further informations, contact: Euréval, 9 rue du Château d’Eau, F- 75010 Paris– (33) 1 53 63 83 90 – Virginie Besrest: email@example.com or Thomas Delahais: firstname.lastname@example.org or the experts of the MEDIA consulting group: Alain Modot: email@example.com or François Catala: firstname.lastname@example.org Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO Context Since its adoption in 1991 by the European Parliament and the Council of MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training – key figures: the MEDIA I Programme, a coherent policy of long-term financial 9,000 projects, 21% of which are in intervention has been followed. The aim development and 67% in distribution; is to enable the European audiovisual Annual number of projects: 974 in industry to benefit from a Europe-wide 2001, 1926 in 2006; market. This policy was first The five Group A countries (Ger, Sp, implemented through the MEDIA II Fr, GB, It) receive 2/3 of the funds programme, followed by MEDIA Plus allocated; and MEDIA Training (2001-2006), and then the MEDIA 2007 programme Average sum per project: €72K in 2001, €44 K in 2006; (2007-2013). This document presents the final evaluation of the MEDIA Plus Average rate of joint funding: 37% ; and MEDIA Training programmes. Rate of joint funding in the other Apart from questions of the Group A countries: 39%. programme’s effectiveness, impact, added value and efficiency, the evaluation specifically addresses two topics: the integration of new Member States owing to the application of positive discrimination, and the MEDIA Desks’ attainment of the objects that were set for them. For this purpose the present evaluation has been based on the analysis of the preceding ones and on the data bases of the MEDIA programme (Media Commitments), as well as on specific tools, including a survey on officials at the MEDIA Desks and focus groups, and interviews with other DGs at the European Commission. It has also triggered the production of systems of indicators for the MEDIA Desks and the MEDIA programme. Robustness of the data presented In the collection and processing of the data several limits were encountered which need to be taken into account when reading the main evaluation results. The main limits are as follows: availability and exhaustiveness of the data, especially programme data: certain indicators could not be measured with precision and have to be treated with caution; comparability of the data: the differences of definitions and of the methods used by the various information sources (MEDIA, European Audiovisual Observatory, National Film Agencies, etc.) do not allow for perfect comparability. Most of the market data presented here are estimations to be used with caution; triangulation of data: as far as possible, the analysis is based on comparisons between several sources. Yet this is not always possible. When only one source is mobilized, this is systematically mentioned in the report. Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO Main evaluation results To what extent are the tools used under the MEDIA PLUS and MEDIA Training programmes and the modalities of their application the most appropriate ones for meeting the sector’s needs? Owing to the sound diagnosis of the challenges during the reflection that preceded the launching of the programme, the objectives of MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training remained relevant, on the whole, throughout the entire period in question. The main challenges identified (fragmentation of the market and insufficient presence of European films in European and international markets) are still relevant in 2007, even if their order of importance has changed. On the whole, the main tools of the programme, chosen in relation to the objectives, are deemed to be well-suited to the needs of professionals in the sector. Amendments to lines of action during the course of the programme have moreover contributed towards maintaining their relevance and to ensuring the conditions of their effectiveness. Dissatisfaction concerns lines of lesser amplitude (e.g. promotion outside Europe; access to funds; new technologies – cf. box below) and is found primarily in B and C countries. The challenge concerning the dissemination and use of NT grew towards the end of the period and has been found to have implications for the industry at all levels. Yet the related objective in the programme, centred on the digital dissemination of content, now seems to be inadequately formulated to cover the entire range of needs. Moreover, findings of the most recent survey show that the actions undertaken in the field of diffusion of new technologies are the least suited to the needs of European audiovisual and film professionals. As regards the lines of selective distribution, video and promotion-festivals, the gradual evolution of their modalities has contributed towards transforming the real objective from competitiveness to cultural and linguistic diversity. Moreover, the ambiguity between the objectives of diversity and competitiveness, noted in the second interim evaluation, tended to be resolved towards the end of the programme, without any mechanism in favour of cultural and linguistic diversity clearly being promoted within the MEDIA programme. As far as support measures are concerned, the incompatibility between administrative and economic rhythms reintroduced the risk of tension for the beneficiary enterprises. The cost of access to the programme, often high for SMEs, in particular, remained acceptable to the beneficiaries. To what extent have the MEDIA PLUS and MEDIA Training programmes contributed towards strengthening the sector’s competitiveness and the cross-border circulation of works? Concerning the strengthening of the sector’s competitiveness and the cross- border circulation of works, which are the programme’s main objectives, the following were confirmed: Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO MEDIA Training contributed meaningfully towards strengthening competencies in the European audiovisual sector, especially in B countries, but the businesses created remain very fragile; MEDIA Development contributed substantially towards adding a European dimension to the audiovisual works supported and, owing to the scope of the programme, beyond that; MEDIA Development favours the extension of investments devoted to the development phase of works, at least for the beneficiaries; i2i automatically reduces eligible financial costs for the beneficiaries but does not facilitate more global access to financing by banks; The possibilities of reinvestment generated by several lines of action of MEDIA Distribution have a real and substantial effect of strengthening competitiveness in the sector, especially by reducing risks and enhancing the beneficiaries’ financial capacities; MEDIA Distribution supports a large and growing proportion of NNE films in circulation in Europe, thus contributing towards that circulation; MEDIA Promotion contributes towards strengthening contacts between professionals in the European audiovisual sector and, most probably, towards creating networks as well; Actions concerning festivals most probably contribute more towards promoting cultural diversity than towards strengthening competitiveness in the European sector, although this may not be the case in the long term. To what extent have MEDIA PLUS and MEDIA Training programmes contributed towards sustainably strengthening firms in the European audiovisual sector? The following table synthesizes judgements on the effects of the MEDIA Programme and their sustainability. Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO Structuring effect Type of (2nd interim Programme effect Effect Sustainability evaluation) MEDIA has contributed towards increasing the competencies of professionals in the audiovisual Immaterial sector MEDIA has contributed towards networking between professionals in the audiovisual sector Immaterial MEDIA has contributed towards developing the potential of countries with little visibility in the international market Productive MEDIA has contributed towards enhancing the viability of projects in the European and international markets Productive MEDIA has contributed towards enhancing the promotion of European films Productive MEDIA has contributed towards adjusting production to meet the demands of international markets Productive MEDIA has contributed towards developing the use of new technologies in the audiovisual industry Productive -1 MEDIA has contributed towards developing the demand for European non-national films Market MEDIA has contributed towards a better cross-border circulation of works in Europe Market MEDIA has contributed towards a better cross-border circulation of works in the rest of the world Market MEDIA has contributed towards increasing private investments in European foreign films (non- national European) Market ()2 Key: significant effect / sustainable effect / structuring effect; fairly significant effect / fairly sustainable effect / potentially structuring effect. The analysis shows positive and sustainable effects in terms of learning and developing competencies: 1 This topic was not considered as one of the structuring investments of the MEDIA programme during the second mid-term evaluation. 2 Taking re-investments into account. Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO The development of competencies and the creation of networks are sustainable impacts of the MEDIA programme, and are structuring for the sector as a whole, not only for the beneficiaries; The European audiovisual offer has evolved, especially in terms of viability, adaptation of the offer, and optimization of the potential of countries with little visibility, through learning about the international market during actions financed by MEDIA; European cooperation is probably an important means for young enterprises to learn. In countries that have benefited from the programme for a long time, MEDIA seems to result in increasing private investments through the 'quality label' effect. In contrast, certain specific contributions of MEDIA (funding, scope of international cooperation) depend on the programme and are therefore particularly fragile. Effects pertaining to the circulation of works in Europe also depend heavily on MEDIA, in terms of both volume and diversity. Moreover, in view of the differences observed between the various European countries, it seems that there is a "threshold effect" in the strengthening of competitiveness which is limited by the absence of the required conditions (e.g. size of the national market, presence of capital) but over which MEDIA has little control. More generally, by favouring the public's exposure to NNE films via its multiple lines of action, the MEDIA programme contributes towards the development of the demand for these works. To what extent have the MEDIA PLUS and MEDIA Training programmes really had a value added to beneficiary firms, compared to other existing programmes? The way in which the programme is designed favours the complementarity of interventions in the audiovisual sector, primarily through the absence of European intervention on the production phase (on which most of the national intervention is focused). The value added by the European intervention can be considered mainly in two ways: the value added (subsidiarity) is particularly strong in cases of an absence of a national support system, especially in the field of on-going education, where serious shortcomings are observed; the introduction of the European dimension into all actions helps to ensure a real added value to the actions undertaken, irrespective of their specific objectives. The main complementarities are found in the field of development, followed by film distribution and training. It is nevertheless difficult to talk of synergies, that is, of additional impacts obtained by combining several mechanisms. The results of the last survey undertaken show a lack of complementarity in certain lines or fields of limited scope (e.g. integration of new technologies, distribution outside Europe and access to funds). Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO To what extent have the human and financial resources allocated been used to attain the objectives assigned to the MEDIA PLUS and MEDIA Training programmes? Effectiveness (2nd Resources (Media interim Sustainability Desks survey) Budgets allocated evaluation) (final evaluation) Distribution of films for cinema appropriate3 Training appropriate Development insufficient Distribution of works for TV insufficient Distribution of works for video -4 Support for the network of cinemas appropriate Promotion of works in markets appropriate Support for festivals appropriate Access to funds insufficient Key: cost very high (over €150m over the period) / highly effective / highly sustainable; cost high (between €50m and €100m) / effective / sustainable; low cost (under €40m) / hardly effective / hardly sustainable. The table below synthesizes the contributions of the analysis of the efficiency of the MEDIA programme. The following conclusions can be drawn: MEDIA Training, the Development axis of the Promotion-Access to the market line, shows a very good cost/effectiveness/sustainability ratio of effects within the programme; The lines comprising Cinema Distribution have a very high cost, due to the amplitude required if real effects are to be achieved in this sector; Several lines share common characteristics as regards efficiency (support for the network of cinemas, video distribution, access to funds); their cost is low but because of their limited scope they do not have a real impact on the sector; Distribution-TV appears to have a particularly high cost compared to the effects observed; the sector is however so large that a far bigger budget and probably an amendment to the main lines seems to be necessary if this line is to have an impact. 3 Cinema and video. 4 Question not asked alone. Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO To what extent have the mechanisms of positive discrimination implemented been the most appropriate tool for facilitating the integration of new participants in the MEDIA programme? To set up its mechanisms for integrating NMS, the MEDIA programme distinguished itself by using the concepts that were already available to it ("countries with a weak capacity…", and linguistic and cultural diversity). The best access to the programme was thus organized by setting selection criteria suited to the projects from B countries or including the works of B countries, and particularly the NMS. This resulted in an over-representation of projects from B countries and NMS, compared to the number of applications filed (42% against 39%). MEDIA thus heavily finances the audiovisual sector of "countries with a weak capacity …" (between 33% and 40% of the budgets allocated between 2001 and 2005) relative to their weight in the European audiovisual sector (between 11% and 15% of the market share on European film entries between 2001 and 2005). Support for distribution accounts for a very large proportion of funds awarded to professionals from NMS, by comparison with what was observed in A and B countries. This was at the expense of development, which declined in the last year of the programme. As regards the specific effects of the programme in the NMS, the following conclusions have been drawn: The effects of the programme on cross-border circulation of works were rapidly perceptible, essentially in terms of the NNE film offer in NMS; The effect on the offer in terms of number of films has been detrimental to films produced in the United States but has not reduced the number of entries (the effects of MEDIA Distribution essentially concern the supply, not the demand); The effect in terms of competitiveness of support for distribution has been limited, due to a lack of reinvestment in NMS. By contrast, the effects of the MEDIA on the national production of NMS are hardly perceptible, at least in terms of market data, but the low level of take up of support for development is cause for concern. Note: Poland alone enhances the statistics relative to NMS (more than one in five projects are from Poland), which also reveals a relative concentration of support in a limited number of countries (primarily the Czech Republic and Hungary), especially on the most structuring mechanisms (training and development). As regards the effects of positive discrimination itself, the table appears to be less clear-cut, apart from the over-representation allowed by the selection criteria: First, the main effects observed on NMS concern distribution, for which most of the support is automatic; although mechanisms of positive discrimination exist to facilitate reinvestments, in particular, they do not appear to be decisive here; As incentives, the mechanisms of positive discrimination are not strong enough to make the programme appealing to the actors of NMS, and do Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO not help to reduce the concentration of support on Distribution- automatic support; consequently, they do not really contribute towards additional effects on the structuring of the sector in these countries; In contrast, the criteria of positive discrimination applied to the actors of A projects have been far more attractive, owing to competition between them to obtain a grant; they have favoured better integration of actors in the network, and of works in European distribution channels. To what extent has the organization (design / implementation) of MEDIA Desks enabled them to attain the objectives set for them by the programme? As regards the description of MEDIA Desk activities, a common trunk of activities around the promotion of the programme and information on it at the Desks and antennae was observed. To this trunk, certain Desks, essentially in A countries, added a strong support dimension. Concerning the effectiveness of the MEDIA Desks in fulfilling their missions, the effects of these Desks in terms of the programme's reputation among audiovisual professionals are real, irrespective of the countries considered, whereas the only real index of effectiveness of support approaches is the popularity of this service in A countries. Organizational factors seem to be particularly important in the case of small Desks: thus, while the system of Desks and antennae appears on the whole to be effective for better informing and supporting European audiovisual professionals, due to current conditions of recruitment and responsibility this effectiveness is in practice closely related to the individuals in charge. The system currently needs to be improved in two ways: The network of Desks functions on bases which are barely formalized; as a result its management is fragile and its full potential cannot be exploited; The absence of a unified monitoring of the performance of the Desks and antennae substantially reduces the possibilities of judging the effectiveness of each of these agencies. Main synthetic conclusions of the evaluation Conclusions relative to the effects and impacts of the MEDIA programme Conclusion 1: on the whole the relevance of the programme remained good over the period, owing to a sound initial diagnosis and renewed modalities. Those areas in which professionals' satisfaction was not optimal concerned a very small proportion of the budget as well as needs that were still being defined (e.g. taking into account the switchover to the digital era). Conclusion 2: The incompatibilities observed between administrative rhythms (selection, contractualization, payment) and economic rhythms in the Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO audiovisual sector reintroduce risks and potential tensions for firms. The cost of access, often heavy for SMEs, nevertheless remains bearable for beneficiaries. Conclusion 3: The main mechanisms of MEDIA contribute effectively towards enhancing competencies (Training), developing the European dimension of works from the pre-production phase (Development), improving the competitiveness of the sector (Distribution, mainly, by reducing risks and strengthening the beneficiaries' financial capacities) and promoting the cross- border circulation of works (Distribution et Promotion). Conclusion 4: MEDIA Training, Development and Promotion-Access to the Market present the best budget/sustainability ratio as regards their effects, despite management costs which are sometimes high. Conclusion 5: The immaterial effects of MEDIA (enhancing competencies, learning about the market, creating networks) are sustainable and structuring impacts for the sector as a whole. Conclusion 6: The programme's effects on the financing of works and on cross-border circulation depend directly on the continuation of European funding. Conclusions relative to mechanisms of positive discrimination and their contribution towards the integration of New Member States (NMS) Conclusion 7: Based on the existing mechanisms of support to countries "with a weak capacity …", MEDIA has been able to rapidly promote the participation of audiovisual professionals from the NMS in the programme. Conclusion 8: On the whole, the MEDIA programme enables audiovisual professionals from countries "with a weak production capacity or a limited geographic and/or linguistic area" to have access to a proportional share of the MEDIA financing which exceeds their weight in the European audiovisual sector5. Conclusion 9: MEDIA has probably contributed towards a constant increase in the offer of NNE films observed in the NMS since their entry into the programme. This is at the expense of the share of US films (which is by far the greatest) but not of local films. Conclusion 10: The criteria of positive discrimination in terms of which the main producing countries form partnerships with the NMS, have really favoured the best integration of these actors in the networks and of their works in European distribution channels. 5Although precise figures are not available, we can assume that the same pattern exists for the NMS. Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO Conclusions relative to the action of the Media Desks Conclusion 11: The Media Desks are both information centres and help desks. The predominant positioning varies from one Desk to the next. The older desks generally favour support. Conclusion 12: The decentralized mechanisms of MEDIA appears to be an effective tool to develop knowledge of the programme and to support audiovisual professionals; their real effectiveness appears to be strongly dependent on the individuals in charge. Conclusion 13: When the Desks are trained and motivated, they can have a significant effect on the sound use of MEDIA in B countries and especially NMS, primarily through work of an educational nature. Conclusion 14: The network dimension of the MEDIA Desks has potential, especially in respect of the sharing of information, the trading of best practices, or the contribution to cross-border exchange. Due to a lack of structuring of the network and its tools, the exchanges currently remain bilateral. Conclusion 15: Without a unified system of performance-measurement at the Desks and antennae, any attempt to estimate their respective effectiveness is limited. This is a shortcoming, both for the national and Community supervisory authorities, and for the Desks themselves. Main recommendations stemming from the evaluation Strategic Recommendation SR 1: Pursue the effort of adjusting to the market Operational Recommendation 1 (OR1): The programme's adaptive capacity and modalities of intervention in relation to the needs of the sector must be maintained (proposed changes in many lines of action); OR2: The programme must be given the means to anticipate changes in the sector (sectoral studies, regular and direct contact with audiovisual professionals, consultation with experts); OR3: The programme must be given a system of monitoring and context indicators (proposal for such a system in the appendix to this report, moving closer to the EAO, changes to data collection). SR 2: Strengthening the coherence of the programme and its modes of intervention OR4: It is necessary to clarify the hierarchy of objectives within the lines and mechanisms of the programme (changes to the i2i, clear displayal of positive discrimination on certain lines, prioritization – redeployment); Évaluation finale des programmes MEDIA PLUS et MEDIA Formation DG INFOSO OR5: Potential integration of new challenges and new actors has to be apprehended on a programme scale (positive discrimination or dedicated mechanisms, opening up to new actors). SR 3: Adjusting the mechanism to the constraints of its users (potential beneficiaries and managers) OR6: The modalities of access to the programme need to be redesigned and simplified (more user-friendly files, reassertion of the Media Desks' support role, rationalization of information requests and their use); OR7: The modalities of intervention have to be aligned with the timing of the sector (frequency of calls for proposals, prescribed times or notification and payment; more in-depth justification for refusals); OR8: The human and organizational resources of MEDIA must be focused on supporting beneficiaries and monitoring projects (on-line candidatures, appropriate software, etc.). SR 4: Exploiting the potential of the MEDIA Desk and antenna network more effectively OR9: It is necessary to clarify the missions and to structure the activities of the MEDIA Desks (roadmap after 3-5 years, qualified and quantified objectives, performance measurement, standardized output models); OR10: The MEDIA desks and antennae need to be given the tools and means required to improve their effectiveness (training, better exploitation of the Desks' expertise, improvement of top-down communication, optimization of the network's potential by pooling knowledge and good practices (especially Extranet)). SR 5: Revising the objectives and modalities of the mechanisms for rebalancing the market, in order to enhance their relevance and effectiveness OR11: The efforts made until now in terms of "positive discrimination" should be maintained; OR12: It is necessary to deepen strategic reflection on the objectives of the positive discrimination policy, and on the results to achieve in terms of the MEDIA 2007 programme (specializing certain support, possible reinvestments in certain cases in national works); OR13: For certain lines of action (selective distribution, automatic distribution, especially sales agent), it is recommended to revise the relevant geographical scale (end of the regional scale, new country categories).
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