Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,

Deputy Mayor, dear Christine Martin,

Ladies and gentlemen elected,

Dear Radu Mihaileanu,

Dear Cristian Mungiu,

Madam President of the CNC, dear Frédérique Bredin,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Network Presidents,

Dear friends,

Before I begin, let me say a word to Francis Lai, who has just left us. He has given the cinema unforgettable melodies.   He especially gave a little of himself to the cinema. Dear Claude Lelouch… you know better than anyone.   He has accompanied your films, and our most intimate emotions. His work will remain eternal.

Culture is what stands the test of time. It is a pride and an honour to be the minister. A pride and an honour to be able to work to support and defend French cinema: your art.  The one you live, grow, constantly reinvent.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce this debate on the modernization of the audiovisual law.

Rethinking it digitally is not an option. It’s obvious. A necessity. A requirement. 

I think we will agree that our legislative framework is outdated.

We always talk about “digital revolution”… This revolution, in reality, is a multiplication of actors, programs, screens, formats, modes of viewing and acquiring content.

We have to make sure she can be a chance. But for the time being, we are forced to note that it weakens the French audiovisual industry.

  • It is undermining its jobs.
  • It undermines the financing of its creation.
  • It ultimately weakens our entire model of cultural diversity, which we fought so hard to build and defend.

 

In the space of a few years, it has made our audiovisual regulation framework obsolete. It is up to us to modernize it! It is up to us to transform it, to make it evolve, to perpetuate our model. Yes, the challenges are immense. But we have the means to meet them. And our first means is you: it’s your talents and your audacity; it’s the quality and richness of your productions, your co-productions, your cooperation.         

When you join forces, you are capable of anything. Proof of this is the agreement that has just been signed by the film organizations and Canal+.

We can rejoice in that. I think we can say that this is a great day for creation and for French cinema.

For several months, intense negotiations were held between all the actors. They stopped a few weeks ago when an agreement seemed close.

But I wanted to believe in the sense of responsibility of the actors in the sector by proposing, last Tuesday, a final session of dialogue under my aegis. I know you in the room, and I want to thank you here. You have taken the measure of this responsibility and have found an extremely satisfactory agreement.

  • This agreement provides that Canal+ will guarantee a high amount of investment in French cinema for a period of four years.
  • In addition to giving visibility to the players, the agreement provides mechanisms for securing investments, which allow them to decorate possible abrupt changes in turnover.
  • It also includes provisions on transparency in the implementation of agreements, which will strengthen trust between stakeholders.

In a context where part of the sector had expressed fears about the future role of Canal+ in the financing of French cinema, this is an extremely positive agreement for the entire sector.

A few days after the purchase of the English Championship rights for the period 2019-2022, this signature reinforces the Canal+ generalist channel model, an essential element of the film creation ecosystem.

In addition, Canal+ has committed to apply to the CSA for the continuation of its DTT operation.

This is a great day for the creation and for French cinema because the signing of this agreement allows us to hope, in the next few days, the final signing of the agreement on the media timeline.

I know that the latest discussions between the film organizations and Orange are also well under way and should be concluded very soon.

The compromise on the new text of the media chronology – for which my predecessor Françoise NYSSEN spoke and which I will present more precisely when the agreement is finally signed – serves a twofold purpose:

  • Consolidate the financing model for French audiovisual creation, by favouring the most virtuous and committed broadcasters;
  • And improve public access to works, taking the right measure of the evolution of expectations and uses.

 

Such an agreement will be the perfect illustration of a French film industry that is organizing and gathering to take control of its destiny. Its signature will allow us to undertake under the best auspices the major projects that await us, to fundamentally reform the framework of audiovisual regulation.

The sector has been able to assume its responsibilities. The State will also do so. It will be faithful to its mission as a shareholder in the public service.

Public broadcasting is absolutely essential to our audiovisual and cinematographic landscape, so important is its investment in creation. It must remain so, and occupy a more central place. Only by anticipating future developments will it succeed.

This is the whole meaning of the great transformation committed. I want to salute not only the leaders of public companies – many of whom are leaders – but also their teams for their voluntarism in this matter.

This transformation should enable the public audiovisual sector to reconnect with the youth of France. The under-30s are the first to embrace new ways of doing things, they account for a third of the population, and they are the future of our country; the future of your audiences. They are the ones who, as a priority, must be reconquered.

This transformation will help bring the public broadcaster closer to our territories. It will become a local media, more attentive, more representative of the reality of our territories, thanks to strengthened cooperation between France 3 and France Bleu.

It must make public broadcasting a digital laboratory: its funding by the State and its lesser dependence on advertising must encourage it to dare, to innovate, to create.

These creations will be new programs, bold and demanding, especially cultural.

The boldness and the requirement: France 3 has shown this, by deciding to adapt in series the first novel of Nicolas MATHIEU, Aux animaux la guerre.

Daring and demanding pay off: since yesterday, Nicolas MATHIEU has won the Prix Goncourt; and France 3 is broadcasting the first episodes of his series starting next Thursday... how synchronized!

These creations, we will support the emergence of them, thanks to a budget of the sanctuarized creation for all the societies of the public audiovisual. They are the first guarantors of cultural diversity.

Making public broadcasting a digital medium means making choices. I accept them. The linear offer will be refocused around a stronger identity. In this regard, I want to say it forcefully: the public service will honour French excellence in animation; and all national channels will have to ensure appropriate visibility to the ultramarine dimension of the national community. On these issues, the supply of companies will be strong and their funding commitments maintained.

In addition, we will develop, non-linear supply. More and more programs are intended to be broadcast exclusively on digital media, which make it possible to reach audiences where they are. We will have to ask ourselves the question of program delivery platforms.

In contact with digital, the public has become more demanding. He has become accustomed to Netflix, its smooth navigation, its personalized suggestions. Quality content is no longer enough. It also calls for a quality platform.

A «editorialized» platform, which guides each viewer and accompanies him in the abundance of programs. On this point, the new players are not an example to follow. Their editorialization is based on often unsatisfactory algorithms, which lock viewers in predetermined choices and endanger cultural diversity.

Transforming public broadcasting also means transforming its governance and organization so that it is stronger, serving its redefined missions.

I am convinced that it is in the union that we will find the resources to build a public service capable of responding to the challenges of our time; capable of becoming the reference in Europe. The forthcoming reform of the 1986 Audiovisual Communication Act will allow us to enshrine these major choices in the law.

You know my ambition for public broadcasting. I want a powerful public broadcasting that becomes the benchmark in Europe. A more digital public broadcasting, closer to the French, which gives voice to youth, culture and the French overseas communities, and contributes to France’s influence in the world.

A powerful public broadcaster requires sustainable and fair funding, which can guarantee our ambitions.

Indeed, the question arises of the sustainability of public audiovisual resources, in parallel with the evolution of uses, but also on the occasion of the abolition of the housing tax, to which the public audiovisual contribution is based. I will advocate for the earliest possible direction and arbitration on this matter.

The State will also be faithful to the post to define a new regulatory framework.

It is up to us to adapt it, to modernize it, to allow traditional actors and digital actors to coexist. There is too much asymmetry between them:

  • Traditional actors are subject to overly restrictive rules.
  • Conversely, platforms escape the rules even though they are capturing an increasing number of audiences.

It is the role of the State to rebalance the rules of the game; to ensure that actors play on a level playing field. It is the role of the State to maintain fair competition in the sector.

It is the role of the State to guarantee the fair sharing of value between those who create, finance and disseminate works.

This new regulation is being built primarily at European level.

I am pleased that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive was finally adopted at the Council of the European Union on Tuesday. This text is a historic text. A major step forward in the inclusion of digital actors in our model.

This victory is the recognition of the relevance of the French model. It is the recognition that “letting it happen” does not protect cultural diversity. Without regulation, we are jeopardizing the foundations of the cultural exception for which we have been fighting for decades.

The transposition of the SMA directive will help us to bring new players into our model.

It will allow us to apply our rules and funding obligations to VOD platforms, but also to television channels that are established abroad and that broadcast to the French public.

And it will allow us to set up a minimum quota of 30% of European works in the catalogue of video-on-demand platforms.

And the transposition of this directive should also be an opportunity to question the balance of contributions to the financing of creation between traditional broadcasters and new market players.

However, another front remains open: that of copyright and the sharing of value.

France won a decisive victory on 12 September in the European Parliament with the vote of the «Copyright» directive.

The mobilization must continue, and not weaken, until the end of the discussions at European level with the Council of the European Union, the Commission and the Parliament. The question of fair and proportional remuneration for creators for each exploitation of a work will be one of the essential points of our future negotiations.

A mobilization that must also continue in tax matters, for a fair taxation of GAFAM.  I would like to commend Bruno LE MAIRE for his commitment.

We will then build the regulatory framework at the national level. That is the whole purpose of the 1986 law reform that I will carry. A text will be tabled at the beginning of the year.

This text, I want us to co-build it. Parliamentarians will be closely involved in its development; some have already worked on this subject, and their contributions will be valuable to us. Similarly, professionals have much to contribute to this reflection. I want to involve you fully; you will all be consulted.

With this reform, we will strengthen the French industrial sector, weakened by the digital revolution and the actors that have emerged from it.To strengthen it, we need to strengthen the capacity to invest in film.

One of the structural challenges for the sector is to attract more private funding, outside of broadcasters. It is the full meaning of the mission entrusted on the subject to Dominique BOUTONNAT, who will render his conclusions in the coming days.

The desire to strengthen broadcasters' investment capacities will necessarily lead us to question the current conditions for financing and acquiring rights.

Interprofessional negotiation must help find solutions. The signing of the agreement we celebrated today is clear evidence of that.

I trust your spirit of responsibility, dialogue and compromise, always preferable to legislative or regulatory intervention. A balanced sharing of value is in everyone’s interest.

That is the strength of our model: more revenue for broadcasters, more investment capacity, and therefore more revenue for producers.

And in this balanced sharing of value, it is essential to strengthen the rights of authors, which are at the heart of the creative process!

My will is to trust the actors. If the act is to translate or complete the negotiations, it will.

And we will also have to look, beyond traditional broadcasters, at the rules applicable to new actors in the financing of creation, who must also contribute to maintaining a strong independent production sector on our national territory.

To strengthen the sector, we need to strengthen its funding. Advertising is one of them.

A broad consultation on the evolution of the rules was conducted.

The figures are clear: the market has been siphoned off by digital players in recent years. And television losses are heavy: between 2000 and 2017, advertising investment in television fell by 15%, from 3.9 to 3.3 billion euros.

So I listen carefully to the requests of broadcasters. I also hear the fears of certain actors.

Some of them want to experiment with extending the authorized sectors and have made proposals to this effect. We are reviewing them.

We will always ensure that we do not unduly undermine the balance with other media, including the press.

Finally, to strengthen the sector, it must be protected from piracy. The battle must be relaunched. The financing of French creation depends on it.

Piracy destroys the value you create. It destroys our entire model.

You know the importance I attach to this subject and the involvement that has always been mine. The subject has been bogged down for several years, especially because it is not always a very promising theme in politics; I am in a good position to know that.

But in the meantime, technology has evolved and the destruction of value has accelerated. Most of our arsenal attacks peer-to-peer downloading, while piracy is now 80% by streaming – streaming, in good French – or by direct download.

It is on these grounds that we must fight first and foremost.

This project has now been reopened for several months. On the one hand, it is essential to make the graduated response more effective. Discussions on this topic have progressed well. We must also and especially tackle the fight against pirate sites. I am thinking in particular of streaming services, which are increasingly popular. Every effort must be made to dry them out of any resource, in connection with payment intermediaries and advertisers; this will involve the creation of «blacklists» of pirate sites, and the fight against the reappearance of mirror sites.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are fighting to preserve the founding principles that shaped our model of cultural diversity, in an environment that challenges and weakens them. We are engaged in profound “transformations” in regulation and public service: transformations that must allow our audiovisual policy to put France at the forefront. And to always make the diversity of creation prevail.

My commitment to you will be complete. You can rest assured.