This year marks the 20th anniversary of the MEDIA Programme
and I am proud to say there is cause for celebration. Over the past two
decades we have pursued a policy of supporting the audiovisual industry
in Europe, and our efforts have paid off. EU funding for the development
and distribution of new films and support to producers has strengthened
cultural diversity and cooperation in the sector and created many new
The MEDIA Programme has kept pace with rapid change and new challenges
in the industry (e.g. the MEDIA Production Guarantee Fund which makes
it easier for film producers to access bank loans, the support scheme
for Video-on-Demand and the digitisation of cinema theatres). What is
more, we have launched the new MEDIA Mundus programme to encourage international
cooperation in the training of professionals, the organisation of co-productions
and the worldwide circulation of films.
We should not forget the strong commercial value of films and other audiovisual
content. The European audiovisual market is worth an estimated EUR 107.4
billion to the economy and provides 1.2 million highly qualified jobs.
In fact, the cultural and creative industries as a whole represent 2.
6% of EU GDP and provide jobs for 5.8 million people.
2011 is also the anniversary of MEDIA Salles. The MEDIA Salles European
Cinema Yearbook is an important reference book for the European Cinema
industry providing statistics on every aspect of cinema distribution across
34 countries, using more than 40 statistical indicators.
In this rapidly changing environment the data made available in the MEDIA
Salles’ European Cinema Yearbook provides in valuable information
both for the work of the Commission and the different players in the audiovisual
sector. I would like to congratulate all those who contributed to this
nineteenth edition and to wish it every success.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth of the