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Spotlight on EU-supported European VOD networks and operators

Seven projects will receive EU support to enhance the circulation of and access to European works across territories.

photo of a person holding a remote control in front of a wall of tv screens

As a reflection of Europe’s cultural richness and diversity, European audiovisual works should be available to wide audiences across Europe. The EU supports video-on-demand (VOD) platforms to join forces and bring European content closer to their audiences.

In June 2021, the Commission launched a call for proposals under Creative Europe MEDIA programme worth EUR 4M to increase cross-border collaboration between existing European VOD services. Projects have started in January 2022 and will last between 12 and 18 months.

Selected projects

USP Plus

The ‘Unified Streaming Project’ (USP Plus) is the result of a collaboration among VOD services operating across 14 territories: UniversCiné in France, SOONER platforms in Benelux, Germany, Austria and Switzerland and Pickbox in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Bulgaria. Altogether, these catalogues sum up over 10.000 films and 2.000 hours of TV shows, mainly composed of European audiovisual works and curated with qualitative editorial standards.

The objectives of USP+ are to reinforce the position of these streaming services and, thus, to create a network of sustainable independent players with a wide catalogue to reach a potential audience of 220 million viewers. To this end, the project will launch the following activities:

  • Pool resources to jointly release 24 independent European films over 12 months;
  • Organise an online festival to feature the 24 titles and additional films;
  • Marketing activities for the titles and the festival through cross-territories events;
  • Launch a common loyalty program for all users of their services;
  • Set up mixed teams from all partners, develop new processes, and identify best practices in all fields related to VOD operations;
  • Mutualise IT developments to benefit from a unified system for asset processing, content dissemination, performance analysis and reporting.

EU budget: EUR 850.000

VODCOLAB

VODCOLAB is an initiative co-designed by seven VOD operators to address common needs through collective experimentation and joint learning. The consortium is composed of diverse partners, from established to new brands with different experiences and knowledge, covering different territories and having an extensive and diverse aggregated catalogue, namely Triart Film AB (Sweden), in partnership with Vega Scene AS (Norway), Levelk APS (Denmark), ABC Theatrical Distribution BV (The Netherlands), Cinobo Idiotiki Kefalaiouchki Etaireia (Greece), 7 ART LTD (Bulgaria) and Viesoji Istaiga Kino Pasaka (Lithuania).

The objectives of the project are to improve the quality and attractiveness of European VOD operators and improve the accessibility and reputation of European content. Taking the format of a “collaboration laboratory” the work plan will allow to:

  • Harness the potential of mutualised efforts and shared costs for the acquisition, localisation and circulation of content in the various markets covered by the partners;
  • Enable collective intelligence and innovation processes based on the exchange of knowledge and best practices;
  • Explore shared communication campaigns and customised avenues of marketing and branding strategies for audience development under the overarching topic of European content.

EU budget: EUR 600.000

BEETHOVEN

medici.tv is one of the leading VOD worldwide platforms for performing arts, owned by the French company Museec. With a catalogue of 3.000 programs, of which 96% are European, and 150 live events per year, it reaches music lovers in 192 countries. The platform is striving to protect the value chain and payment loyalty with a strong and creative offer of European programs. It guarantees legal and effective availability worldwide through a reliable and long-term business model.

Through ‘BEETHOVEN’, medici.tv will develop the following activities:

  • Implement new tools such as a recommendation system and infographics;
  • Install inclusive tools for disabled people;
  • Diversify its content by producing a first podcast series of 12 episodes;
  • Produce new formats for social media networks;
  • Improve its educational platform (technical, marketing and editorial investments).

EU budget: EUR 400.000

LaCinetek Across Borders

LaCinetek is a European VoD platform developed by La Cinémathèque des Réalisateurs, dedicated exclusively to film heritage from the 20th century and up to 2005. The catalogue includes more than 1.600 films and 600 bonuses, out of which a third were never released on VOD, and is available in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Austria. Relying on strong partnerships with European cinémathèques, film archives and institutions, cinemas and festivals, ‘LaCinetek Across Borders’ aims to enhance cross-borders expansion and access to film heritage through the following activities:

  • Enlarge the Hidden Treasures section, showcasing restored films by several film institutes; 
  • Improve its subtitles offer;
  • Create a Playlists section in the platform;
  • Develop specific tools for disabled audiences;
  • Organise online film festivals and online/physical cineclubs;
  • Distribute archive/original video bonuses to film education institutions;
  • Disseminate best practices for greener streaming;
  • Create targeted marketing and communication campaigns, especially addressed to young audiences;
  • Carry out four feasibility studies about the implementation of a pan-European/global offer for film institutes, greening technologies and label, educational actions and partnerships with other European VOD platforms.

EU budget: EUR 360.000

Qwest TV SHIFT

Starting in 2018 as a video streaming service dedicated exclusively to jazz, Qwest TV has now created bridges with electronic, pop/rock and classical music. Its catalogue includes over 1.600 concert videos and documentaries of which 70% are European audiovisual works.

The ‘Qwest TV SHIFT” project plans to improve its three main services:

  • Highlight European audiovisual works in its SVOD platform through curated playlists;
  • Reach wider audiences of their 3 FAST channels (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television) - Qwest TV Jazz, Qwest TV Mix and Qwest TV Classical - by increasing partnerships with operators;
  • Enhance its educational platform Qwest TV EDU by growing its offer, developing new partnerships with institutions and reaching more students;
  • Additionally it will share best practices with other industry players to better understand consumer behaviour.

EU budget: EUR 300.000

DAF

DAFilms.com is a global VOD platform for the distribution of creative documentary films with a focus on European cinema. It has three versions designed for Europe, America and Asia, and three national versions for Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. The film catalogue offers over 3.300 films, of which two thirds are European. DAFilms is powered by Doc Alliance, a collaborative project by seven major European festivals including CPH:DOX (Denmark), Doclisboa (Portugal), Docs Against Gravity Film Festival (Poland), DOK Leipzig (Germany), FIDMarseille (France), Ji.hlava IDFF (Czech Republic), and Visions du Réel (Switzerland).

DAF vision for 2022 is to develop tools for quality cooperation with film festivals and film institutions in order to fully take advantage of the potential of mutual promotion, address the largest possible group of new viewers, and properly manage the films presented.

The goals of the project are to:

  • Strengthen the potential of cooperation with film festivals and film institutions through branding, curation, online festival and promotion of local cinematography;
  • Continue producing DAFilms Live Streams, live talks with recognised or emerging European filmmakers;
  • Launch DAFilms Junior, a new version of DAFilms for Kids and Youth that will focus on providing a safe platform for young audiences to learn, explore and be entertained.

EU budget: EUR 273.000

FILMINXCHANGE

Filmin is a Spanish VOD platform launched in 2007 that offers the largest independent film catalogue available in SVOD on any European platform. It has more than 15.000 films and series, more than 60% of its catalogue is European, and around 20% are Spanish productions or co-productions.

‘FILMINXCHANGE’ is an initiative aimed at tackling the need to improve cross-border circulation of European productions between territories and leveraging relevant changes by investing in innovation and devising joint actions to scale up existing good practices.

The project will:

  • Study consumer behaviour and map untapped possibilities for new audiences’ outreach, particularly addressing the niche of senior customers through FilminSenior activities, translating findings into technological development to improve accessibility and engagement;
  • Design and test a collaboration scheme named Festivals Exchanges, aimed at enhancing the circulation and consumption of European content.

EU budget: EUR 250.000

2022 call for proposals for European VOD networks and operators

This year’s call for proposals has been published in March 2022 with a deadline on 2 June 2022. A webinar for potential applicants took place on 9 March, the session was recorded and available here.