Dear Jean Tirole,

Ladies and gentlemen our partners,

Dear friends,

I am very pleased to sign today this agreement that commits my Ministry with the Jean-Jacques Laffont Chair for the next three years.

Since we installed it together last February, dear Jean Tirole, you have already started working. In May, you organized a symposium in Brussels on the audiovisual sector and the digital single market. In June, at the Quai Branly Museum, you dedicated an international seminar to the cultural and societal challenges of digital technology.

And as you know, I expect a lot of your work.

I expect a lot – we expect a lot – because the digital transformation is reshaping the cards with such depth that we need to be able to grasp it in all its aspects and dimensions.

To get the best out of it, to understand its limits, to adapt to it or to respond to it, in a word, to act, we need to understand its mechanism.

That’s where the basic research comes in. For my Department, working with researchers is, I dare say, a rich habit and we feel a collective pride in it. Our Conservatives do research. Teams dedicated to creation, heritage and access to culture are constantly doing research.

My services can be proud to have a long-standing department of studies, foresight and statistics recognized for the quality of its work. It is thanks to him that we can regularly follow the evolution of the French cultural practices. He has, moreover, very precisely analyzed the consequences of digital technology on the cultural life of our fellow citizens, and I expressly invite all those who have not yet done so to read Sylvie Octobre’s excellent work, Two inches and neurons, which the Department released last year.

His research has informed the decision-making of my predecessors, as it now enlightens mine. It is therefore quite natural that our convention provides that the DEPS – of which I greet the new director, Loup Wolff – chairs a research and foresight committee that will make the link with the Chair.

It will bring together members of my teams, the CNC, the CNL, public institutions such as the Louvre, the BNF, the INA, the Reunion of National Museums-Grand Palais or public audiovisual companies.

I would especially like to thank Philippe Chantepie, who has been in dialogue with our public institutions and the members of the TSE in recent months, in order to find synergies and involve the entire ministry in this research and foresight process. Thanks to this work, the agreement that we have signed clearly outlines the research issues that will most closely reflect the concerns of the Ministry of Culture.

So it is not in the ever closer relationship we have with research that novelty lies. The novelty lies in the fact that I have chosen to tackle head-on the economic aspect of digital transformation within the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Let’s be clear: I’ve been criticized for it sometimes. We’ve seen it as iconoclastic. It’s the reverse.

It is because I want to preserve the vitality of the French artistic fabric and the possibility of its renewal,

It is because I am deeply committed to the diversity of creation,

This is because I believe that a cold and automatic algorithm will never be worth the accompaniment, the awakening, the discovery, the unexpected, which arises from an encounter with a bookseller, a mediator, a librarian, an artist in direct relation with his audiences,

It is because I finally believe that digital is an extraordinary opportunity for artists to find their audience and better disseminate their works, that I want to address the economic challenges of digital.

If we are not able to better understand them and better understand those impacts, particularly on the value chain, then we will let others think about them and organize them for us, particularly those few digital giants. I know that companies, which are partners in the chair, share some of these concerns.

The quality of the work that will be produced by the teams gathered around Jean Tirole and the Ecole d'Economie de Toulouse will therefore give us material to feed our decisions, public and private, to act for some, to regulate effectively for others, where necessary. The strength of this work will also lie in its transdisciplinary dimension, since economists, sociologists and jurists may be invited to reflect together on these issues. It is in this way, this is my conviction, that we will be able to better perceive digital change in all its dimensions.

This evening I will not mention all the problems I have submitted to the Chair. However, allow me to mention two in particular.

First, I want to talk about platforms, which have become essential players in cultural industries in the space of a few years. I am committed, as you know, to supporting the development of the legal offer, whether it be online music, video on demand, or e-books, and to ensuring that our fellow citizens have access to a diversified online offer. I am also determined to fight against illegal supply. Finally, I am determined to work for a fair distribution of the value chain. We have already begun to act in this direction in France, at the European level, where we are engaged in a discussion on copyright reform – and I was in Brussels yesterday morning to delve into these issues.

At the global level, we have also begun working with our partners to ensure that the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted at UNESCO ten years ago, may also apply to the digital market – I mentioned that again this morning.

In order for us to do the best we can, and convince our partners, we need to better understand the evolution of competitive dynamics, the business models of platforms and the business models of digital content industries in the form of unlimited access. These areas of work will be at the heart of the Chair’s research. I hope that your work will help us convince our European partners of our common interest in better regulating platform activity, within the framework of the digital single market.

Then I want to talk about the issue of public cultural data and their promotion. For all our public institutions, this is now a key issue, both to better understand their audiences and to reach new ones. This issue also covers all the issues related to ticketing and the use of this data by intermediaries who sell tickets for our major museums or theatres, for example. Your work must allow us to better understand how cultural actors act, so that we can accompany our public institutions, so that they can in turn make the best use of them.

My dear friends, research is a precious asset for us, because it helps us to better identify and anticipate the changes taking place. Even if it feeds our action, it is primarily this freedom, this objectivity that characterizes the fundamental research that is important to us collectively. Because it is what will enable us to make the right decisions and make the right choices for the future. Thanks again to Jean Tirole for agreeing to take the lead. Thanks to all the sponsors for accompanying him with us. Digital technology opens doors for us, it is a chance for culture. It is up to us to make the most of it.

Thank you.