Articles Animazione

French animation value 300M

by Emilio Pucci | 07.06.2019

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Thanks to important public funds, tax credits and an equally important role of the domestic broadcasters and producers, French animation titles, including Film&TV products, are worth an average of nearly €300M per year, meaning 10% of the total national audiovisual product.

As known, the consistent public support for audiovisual productions in France plays an important role in stimulating and sustaining the domestic market. In 2018, CNC (Center national du cinéma et de l’image animée) provided funds for the production of (all genre) television shows for approximately €250M. This figure represents a 1% increase in funds compared to 2017, but a 19% increase compared to 2010. Overall, the direct support of CNC was spread over a good 4,700 hours of TV products.

This substantial public contribution amounts to 16% ca the total investment value in original French production (limited to the audiovisual shows called aidés, which are those specifically supported by public financing). This contribution is furtherly supported by other direct and indirect public funding, such as, for example, those related to distribution and promotion or even tax credits (crédit d’impôt), which starting from 2016 concerns, nearly 20 or 25% the eligible expenses, according to the genre. In 2018, as many as 1,641 hours of French audiovisual shows received a first (temporary) assignment of tax credit benefits.

The original audiovisual production for genres such as documentaries or animation – which are usually less rewarded by market dynamics but for this reason considered vital for the national cultural identity – receives substantial contributions. Overall, in 2018, documentaries and animation products have drawn as much as €130 million in CNC funds, which is about 50% the agency’s total budget.

Animation production in France is strongly supported by the government, both thru CNC contributions and thru important funds coming from the public organization Group France Télévisions. These two “public levers” play an important role in activating funds from domestic producers and foreign investors.

Due to a sort of three-year cyclical nature of the French animation market, 2018 was a critical year with all figures down after two years of growth. In 2018, in fact, only 289 hours of animation programs were produced against the 353 in 2017. Total investments were €210M against €269M in 2017 (and 181 in 2015). On this value, public funds (CNC and others) account for about 24% (50M) while the national subjects – producers and broadcasters – contributed about €100M to the sector. The role of France Télévisions is important, although the 2018 budget of this public operator was cut, going from €33M to €20M; same goes for private broadcaster TF1 (€14M in 2017 and €7M in 2018). Overall, all private-commercial broadcasters, free and pay TV, invest little less than the public operator.

Yearly, the French animation system manages to draw around 50M from foreign budget (pre-sales, co-productions, etc.). Here, as well, 2018 figures show a decrease compared to 2017. For this reason, a recent research of CNC analyzes the cyclical trend of the market, focusing on average figures over the last five years, in order to achieve the most correct data.

To those figures relating to video-television products, the data concerning animation films must then be added. Figures for 2018 were not yet available at the time of this paper, but in 2017 production investments accounted for €15M on a total of five films produced. An extremely low figure, again due to a sort of productive cycle. In fact, in 2016 alone, as many as 10 films were produced, some of which high budget movies, for a total investment of €162M.

Considering the total data of television shows and animated motion pictures relating to the five-year period 2013-2017, the value of French animation production can be estimated €1,450M, meaning an average of about €300M per year. This number is worth 10 % total the film and video-television market, which is overall estimated €3B a year (€14,708M being the total five-year period evaluation).

A timely and up-to-date comparison with the Italian national animation production is unfortunately not possible today due to the absence of data able to provide a detailed picture of the market, the annual values of production costs and the relative investments of the different players in the supply chain. Despite several successful cases, including important ones, and moments of enthusiasm and vitality of companies in the sector, Italy is unfortunately far from French numbers. Just think that in this regard, in Italy tax credit in 2017 was requested for only six audiovisual animation films (which is however more than the 4 of 2016) and for a total value of only €2.4M. Animation today is certainly undersized even within the general audiovisual production market which, as a whole, is estimated around €1B (figures referring to 2017).

The animation production in France (Film&TV products) – Figures in €M

Source: e-Media on CNC data