Methodology, Skills and Professional Benefits Participants Participants' Comments MEDICI Head of Training «The 12 Labours of Hercules» Report of the Reports – Workshops 1 to 4

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Ninth Workshop – 25 to 27 September 2019 in Potsdam, Berlin

Module 4.3: Group exercise: block chain as part of new funding schemes. Supporting new formats and platform distribution

Description of the exercise

The MEDICI participants are divided into six groups of 5-6 people, each sitting at one table. The exercise consists of three elements:

  1. The participants first receive the overall task they need to pursue.
  2. Then they are pointed to the conversations they need to engage in while pursuing the given task.
  3. Finally, they present the outcomes of their discussions in a 3-minute-pitch.
  1. Task
    Eurimages has asked the European film funds to join a think-tank on standardising the film development-production-distribution chain in compliance with the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production.
  2. Conversation
    In order to fulfill this task, the funds need to engage in the following two conversations:
    • Conversation 1: each Think-Tank (i.e. each table in the room) needs to discuss how the development-production-distribution chain could/should be standardised and propose a standard. In developing such a standard, they can:
      1. depart from the suggestions from the lecture by Florian Glatz (making an archive of the existing films or starting from new projects), or
      2. go by the lines proposed by Vincent Choukroun who in his presentation proposes a modular revolution by focusing on one part of the chain, trying to standardise it.
    • Conversation 2: every Think-Tank needs to identify the relevant bodies, institutions, organisations and players that need to join the next round of conversations in the Think-Tank.
  3. 3-minute Pitch: The outcomes of both conversations are to be presented in the form of a proposal (3-minute pitch) to Eurimages and the Council of Europe.

Outcomes of the exercise

Group 1

Group 1 Case

Conversation 1

Our blockchain would combine the responsibility of the collecting agents with the escrow accounts:

Therefore, the idea behind our blockchain is to get a full, transparent system of following money from development to the moment the revenue streams start coming. This system would be based on trust, transparency and efficiency.

Conversation 2

For the next round of our Think-Tank discussion, we would in the first place invite the colleting agents and banks.

Group 2

Group 1 Case

Conversation 1

Our blockchain would focus on production – a specific fragment of the film value chain. We would establish:

All the member countries should make sure that the relevant national requirements in terms of qualifications and certifications are verified. Furthermore, as soon as a funding body confirms its funding for a project, it would appear on blockchain with all the information about the guidelines, terms, criteria, deadlines, expiration dates of the granted financing. There will also be accurate information about the financing plans, budget and how much money should be spent in which country.

Some countries have some budget items that the others do not (for example contingencies), which poses a problem. Hence, our blockchain would make sure that every specific item from national budget forms exists also in the overall budget. Each country would appoint a project manager for the blockchain. They would verify and prove that everything is according to the national regulations and laws. On the other hand, collecting agents would not exist in our blockchain, because we would insist on disintermediation.

Conversation 2

Each country is different. Therefore, the countries should first bring together all the relevant institutions on the national level (regional and national film funds, certification institutions, etc.) and only after the consolidation on national level, they can continue the international conversation on the block-chain related standardisation. National funding bodies would coordinate everything under the monitoring of Eurimages. Eurimages would not regulate the standardisation process on a metalevel, but rather on the operational level as an exchange of the best practices.

Group 3

Conversation 1

Our blockchain would contain a minimum set of data which can travel across different networks. It is important that these basic data are collected and certified by everybody involved (from both private and public sector) in the film, and are available to all the parties.

In developing our blockchain, we would collaborate with producers’ associations, blockchain specialist, representatives of film funds (such as EFADs, Cineregio, etc.), but also with all the parties that provide data such as box-office, recoupment information, festival data, etc.

Conversation 2

Furthermore, we would standardise the chain of titles because it would be the DNA of each production – the main digital asset. This standardisation should be a collaborative project of public film funds and the industry. The piece of the blockchain containing information about the chain of title would be shared to all partners involved. We also need to consider creating an association whose role would be to register the chains of title in blockchain. The data they register could be used in different blockchains (within both private and public networks).

Finally, it would be necessary to define the way each stakeholder should report to blockchain their data about revenues.

Group 4

Group 4 Case

Conversation 1

Our blockchain focuses on co-productions. It contains information about the chains of titles, revenues, recoupments and all other information about how the money travels between different players. We would collect data from scratch with every new project. But the established data standards would be used.

We also discussed the standardisation of the certification process for co-productions. The current national forms are very different from country to county (in different languages, with or without percentages, etc.). We propose a universal form that could be appended to the existing certification letter in every country, containing a minimum information that Eurimages need to know about the project (chain of titles, percentage of financing, share of revenues, etc.). But this task is difficult to implement due to the rigid national legislations that do not allow that.

We also identified some challenges.

Conversation 2

The blockchain standards would be established in collaboration with Ministries of Culture (policy-makers), producers’ associations, lawyers, blockchain experts, Eurimages, Ibermedia and other organisations involved in co-productions.

Group 5

Group 5 Case

Conversation 1

Our blockchain would be based on the CCP 1.0 protocol, which defines standardised datasets containing the following information:

The valid documents would be only the ones signed by all the countries and partners participating in a co-production. Blockchain would show only such documents.

Conversation 2

Industry partners would be involved in the conversation, together with the relevant ministries, producers’ associations and representatives of non-European countries that are interested in participating in the blockchain.

In the next phase, we would work on the CCP 2.0 protocol that would:

Group 6

Group 6 Case

Conversation 1

Our blockchain focuses on VoD and is based on the CCCS (content consumption counting standard) that we have defined. The CCCS should help us find a common ground for value assignment to user consumption on VoD platforms. Right now, there is no transparency of how platforms are recording the way the users are engaging with the content (are they just starting the video? watching only the first 5 minutes? etc.). There is no standard for counting and recording that information and our standard would do that.

We would introduce additional two standards:

Conversation 2

The next step would be to invite all the platforms, associations of producers and distributors, audience measurement experts and representatives of the European Commission and other strong political bodies, in order to continue our work in conversation with them.

Group discussion on digitisation and blockchain

The lectures by two blockchain experts and the group exercise inspired the MEDICI participants to exchange their own experiences with the digitisation of the work process. Digitisation has definitely become an irreversible process considering that around 50% of the funds have already introduced a data-based application process. What follows is a sample of some most common experiences and challenges the funds have faced on the way.

The public film funds’ experiences with new players and forms of content, their impact on funding schemes and their responsibility towards the industry in the 21st century

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