France: Regulator reminds Cannes audience of piracy’s impact on investment obligations

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Officials from Arcom, France’s newly-launched national anti-piracy agency, spoke to a media industry audience at the annual Cannes Film Festival.  The heads of the working groups for ‘Protection and dissemination of creative and sports content’ and ‘Audiovisual, cinematographic and music creation and production’ couched Arcom’s mission in terms of fighting piracy and protecting the investments that TV channels make in the financing of French and European creative works.

ARCOM was created in 2021 and launched in January 2022, combining the former High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) with France’s Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA)

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One of the missions of Arcom is to ensure that TV channels make contributions to the production of films made in France and across Europe.  Digital terrestrial channels are obligated by statute to invest between 3.2% and 3.5% of their revenue to the production of cinematographic works produced in Europe, including 2.5% produced in France.  In 2020, this amounted to €343 million for the production of 130 films.  Those channels paying these fees should be kept aware of the risk of piracy, in terms of return on investment.

On-demand audiovisual media services (SMAD) also were reminded of their promotion quotas and investment obligations.  According to a post by Arcom’s predecessor, HADOPI, “The system provides for the participation of the SMADs concerned in the amount of 20% of their turnover in France for subscription services, of which 80% are devoted to audiovisual production and 20% to film production.”

Sports piracy reportedly was down

According to a presentation to the Cannes audience by Arcom, the global audience for illegal sports between January and March 2022 was down 37% over the year prior.  Illegal consumption of Ligue 1 wa down 76% from February of 2021 to February 2022.  Illegal consumption of Champions League was down 77% over the same period.

Consumer piracy activity in France

Arcom said that VPN use went from 4% in 2019 to 7% in 2021.  It said that 2.6 million consumers used illegal ‘IPTV’ in 2021, and that out of 902,112 Internet users that were blocked from accessing piracy sites, more than 45% abandoned their effort (went to no other sites) and 19% accessed legal streaming sites. Arcom said that 19% of Internet users have made adjustments to their DNS settings and 5% do so regularly.  All of this shows that there’s still work to be done.

Read the Arcom news release, about Arcom’s presence at the Cannes Film Festival (Auto-translated from French by Google Translate)

Why it matters

At the Cannes event, Arcom reminded the industry that piracy serves to compromise their statutory obligations to invest in media and entertainment content.

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