The phenomenon of delocalization as a result of the rush to cut costs is increasingly affecting Italian drama production. This has emerged from the IV IEM Fondazione Rosselli report “The audiovisual market and drama: the levers of development” realized for the APT [Italian television producers association]. The report was presented at the “Public resources for drama in Europe and the main European countries” conference held on October 1st in Rome at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, organized by the APT and Eurovisioni during the Roma Fiction Fest.
The overall loss of domestic resources from 2008 to the present day is estimated at around €120 million: this consists of lost income for hire companies (€ 67 million), and a quarter refers to lost tax income. For the period analyzed in the report, 102 out of 648 (16%) of the productions were realized abroad. And this phenomenon appears to have accelerated in the course of 2012.
Delocalization is one of the areas examined in the study by Flavia Barca and Bruno Zambardino which aimed to determine the entity and beneficiaries of the European funds – European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Eurimages and MEDIA – which have contributed to supporting various areas of the Italian audiovisual production chain. In the period studied, 2007-2011, the European resources allocated to Italian audiovisuals totaled €60.7 million (provisional figure) representing the majority quota of a total expenditure of around € 105 million (including resources from the State, Regions and private bodies).
The biggest contribution came from MEDIA with € 33.5 million (55%), followed by the ERDF with € 18 million (29%), Eurimages with € 8.3 million (14%) and the ESF with around € 1 million (2%). The sector that benefited the most from MEDIA resources was distribution (€ 18.5 million), followed by the support provided to producers which amounted to €7.7 million (€ 1.2 million of which was allocated to drama projects): the latter figure is much lower than the amounts received by France (€ 43 million) and the United Kingdom (€ 17 million). The Italian quota, just 4.9% of the total amount allocated by MEDIA, shows our country’s lack of ability to attract MEDIA program resources.
Although the “big four” (France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy) noticed a 6% fall in expenditure by free broadcasters on original drama production in 2011 compared to the previous year (26% since 2007), in other countries signs of growth emerged “thanks to a process of diversification of financing sources as well as a clear and efficient regulatory framework”.
In Italy, where the negative trend of broadcasters has determined a drop in drama turnover which, in 2011, fell below the € 700 million mark (according to IEM estimates), the study concluded that we are paying for the absence of a system strategy in a sector that is “run” by multiple public figures: the Mise for the regulatory framework and technological innovation, the Rai for providing public support to productions, the Parliamentary Committee for monitoring, Agcom for complying with national and European production quotas and the Regional Governments for incentives and support mechanisms.