As part of its missions as a representative professional organization, FERA regularly flags situations presenting potential harm for European screen directors, their artistic freedom or livelihood.
ACT believes that one sentence in FERA’s recent statement supporting Danish audiovisual authors – “Streamers and broadcasters are emerging as the rare players to have not only survived but benefitted from the Covid-19 crisis” – is a claim that fundamentally mischaracterises the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on our sector. They invite us to review this claim, and remind us that we currently hold the role of Chair of the AV Observatory’s Advisory Committee (of which ACT is also a member) and that as such we should be aware of its reports – and numerous other reports – stating that “revenues of the traditional players have more or less stagnated […] traditional broadcasters lost 5% in weight”.
As well as “traditional broadcasters” ACT also represents Video on Demand Services who built new audiences during a pandemic that caused millions of people to be spending unaccustomed millions of hours at home, generating increased subscriptions and increased income – a sector which remains overall “a major success story and a leading investor and job provider in Europe’s Cultural and Creative Industries”.
Almost all European screen directors are freelance, and like many others in our sector and beyond, the vast majority are self-employed who found they were ineligible for state financial support during the pandemic. During lockdowns, their income suffered weight loss of almost 100% with not much to fall back on: pre-pandemic the career peak median income of European audiovisual directors was €27,733. For those who identified as female it was €15,642.
From the perspective of our members, traditional broadcasters’ 5% weight loss coupled with a significant increase in viewers in such an unprecedented crisis looks very much like healthy survival, but of course FERA wouldn’t seek to portray any loss as a benefit.
While our perspectives may differ, we agree that it is in the entire ecosystem’s interest to build sustainable collective frameworks at a time of ongoing sea-changes for the European audiovisual industry.
For our members, fair remuneration and transparency remain priorities as are they are essential for them to make ends meet and build sustainable careers. We will therefore continue to engage with all willing industry partners in constructive dialogue on these issues and others so our sector can keep on creating, producing, and distributing great European stories for the screen. Let’s talk!
 See AV Observatory – Top players in the European AV industry: Ownership and Concentration (January 2022) p.5