Such public intervention has been necessitated by the domination of the international film market by the Hollywood giants from 1920, as well as the economic weakness of national film industries and the political and cultural issues associated with the production and distribution of movies.
Public authorities can affect the economic structure of the film and audiovisual industry in various ways. The most traditional forms of intervention concern the regulatory and financial structure of television. Public bodies exert a strong influence on the economy of the sector through the way television is funded (whether through public funding or the regulation of private funding), by imposing a regulated structure on relations between broadcasters and producers, and by obliging broadcasters to invest in production.
In parallel to their policies on the structure of the television sector, public authorities have set up various forms of sectoral aid. Sectoral aid is traditionally defined as any financial intervention by public authorities in the day-to-day running of a given market. Public authorities’ financial intervention to support the film and audiovisual industry can take a variety of different forms, including:
⦁ direct intervention in the form of subsidies;
⦁ tax relief on income, aimed at promoting investment;
⦁ granting of preferential credit;
⦁ financial guarantees aimed at covering the major risks associated with investment in production;
⦁ financial transfers ordered or assisted by the public authorities in order to ensure the transfer of resources from one branch of the industry to another (particularly from television to production);
⦁ provision of practical support to promote filming through the establishment of film commissions;
⦁ organization of film promotion measures (festivals, international promotion, etc.);
⦁ organization of legal and economic measures aimed at encouraging co-operation with economic players from other countries (particularly in the form of co-production agreements);
⦁ legal provisions aimed at enabling producers to control the rights to audiovisual programs financed by television stations;
⦁ regulation of program sponsorship in order to promote additional investments in audiovisual production or regulation of product placement in film production.
Cultural and creative industries are crucial for the economic and regional development, and public institutions are more and more aware of it. In the past two decades, an increasing number of local and national institutions decided to invest public money to support the audiovisual field generating a wide range of economic and cultural benefits for their territories.
In particular, in order to achieve these goals many governments have established a Film Commission, a no-profit organization dedicated to bringing economic benefits to its jurisdiction though film, TV series, documentaries, commercials, etc. The Film Commission offers free services and supports to the crews shooting on location so that productions can accomplish their work smoothly. In return, the hosting region gets a wide range of advantages: direct, indirect and induced effects on the local economy, promotion of the image of the region, promotion of local public heritage, of local creativity, and of new local expertise related but not limited to the audiovisual field, increase of tourist flows, renewed attention towards films and film culture, etc. In other words, the Film Commission is the promising result of a new economic and cultural policy for the audiovisual field, not devoted anymore only to support few occasional events (for instance, a local film festival) or particular projects (productions with a significant cultural impact for a given area), but the whole audiovisual sector and all the other industries related to it.
This policy brief proposes the results of a study tour carried out with a support of EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme. Study tour’s primary aim was to analyse the models of three Film Commissions in the European Union countries, which have proven track-record in playing a key role in the cultural and economic development. Based on comparative analysis of those three models, initial proposals were developed and discussed among representatives of national film community and various stakeholders of Azerbaijan. These proposals are presented to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan for further consideration and input for developing next concrete steps.