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French Culture Minister Says Streaming Window Needs Shortening – Deadline

France’s controversial 15 to 17-month streaming window for feature films needs to be shortened but this is not likely to happen in the immediate future, French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak told an international press briefing at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

A reduction of the TVOD window could be on the cards, however, so that feature films will be available for the second transactional VOD window, three months after their theatrical release, rather than the current four-month gap.  

Abdul Malak was responding to a question on France’s recently overhauled media windows rules and whether they were due another update amid pressure from the U.S. studios and global platforms, notably Disney and Netflix.

Under the current chronology, most global platforms including Disney and Amazon are subject to a 17-month gap between a theatrical and online release of a feature film, while Netflix is subject to a 15-month window in return for extra investment in local feature films. Prior to the new rules, the window was 36 months. 

“Yes, I think the whole chronology should be shorter, but we need to go step by step and find the agreement between all the segments [of the film and TV industry] that are concerned,” said Abdul Malak.

“We need to preserve French specificities. Because it’s not only about the films, it’s also about the presence of our theatres in all these territories. It’s about social life. It’s also about financing,” she added.

The new media chronology legislation which was launched in February 2022 was due to last for three years. However, it included an annual review clause set for February 2023.

“We decided to open discussions to change it again faster than what was initially planned. We started these discussions in October and we’re still in this process because the government is more of a mediator between all the parties. It has to be an agreement between them. It’s not us who decide what happens,” she said.

A ministerial advisor revealed that a reduction in the TVOD window was under discussion and there was a “very good possibility” that an agreement would be tied up by June.

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