The report aims to make recommendations which will allow for sustainable growth of the Audiovisual Sector over the next five years. The recommendations include a dedicated Irish film channel, a €2 million co-production fund to help bring in major productions and a recommendation that the Sound and Vision fund be transferred from the BAI to the IFB.
Under the recommendations in the report, the Irish Film Board would have an increased commission in the industry with a dedicated business development unit and with responsibility to administer a single training programme for the whole industry. Other recommendations include helping to build domestic production by creating a Memorandum of Understanding between content producers and public sector broadcasters. This would mean setting common ground for all categories of production (feature, documentary, TV series etc) and training. Intellectual property rights would also remain with the creator of content rather than with the broadcaster.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan welcomed the new report which was published today, saying “ The Irish audiovisual sector possesses world-class talent and this report is key to unlocking its potential. The coherent interdepartmental collaboration between, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform along with the industry itself, will be central to the success of achieving sustainable growth for the sector and the skills to build a sustainable export market.”
Chairman of the Steering Group for the Audiovisual Industry Strategic Review Brendan Tuohy said the report was a “blueprint for the creation of 5,000 new, highly skilled jobs in the audiovisual industries.” The report lays out a set of recommendations which aim to double the turnover of the Irish audiovisual industry from €500 million to €1 billion, and to double jobs in the sector from 5,000 to 10,000.
Consultation work on the report commenced towards the end of 2009 and early 2010. It was published by a Steering Group for the Review chaired by Former Secretary General, Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources Brendan Tuohy and key industry members and government including MD of Brown Bag Films Cathal Gaffney, Director of Element Pictures Ed Guiney, Chief Executive of Windmill Lane Pictures and Chairmen on the Film Board James Morris, Chief Executive of Screentime ShinAwil Larry Bass, MD at Subotica Tristan Orpen Lynch, Assistant Secretary General , Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaetlacht Niall O'Donnchu, Principle Officer Broadcasting Policy Division Éanna Ó Conghaile and Assistant principal, Enterprise Development Unit Margaret Lawlor.
The report is divided into five key sections:
1. The first section gives recommendations for Developing the Industry and Building Strong Companies. Key recommendations in this section include the extension of Section 481 until 2020; to extend research and development Tax Credit to include content development, supporting Convergence between the audiovisual content industry and the gaming industry; and multi-project development funding to be made available to the industry.
2. The report suggests that Building Audiovisual Exports would greatly benefit the growth of the Irish audiovisual industry and that a strategic plan should be developed by the relevant agencies (Enterprise Ireland, IFB, Culture Ireland and the Irish Film Institute) in consultation with the industry.
3. For Development of Skills and Talent, the report suggests that the Screen Training Ireland (STI) is repositioned to ensure that skills training is aligned with industry growth plan targets; that STI/SPI develop apprenticeships and graduate placements; business mentoring should be established; duplication and waste should be eliminated in third level training; and education and the developing of digital and media literacy programmes should be introduced for primary and post-primary education.
4. Recommendations to Ensure a Strong Domestic Economy include plans to increase Irish audiences at Irish film through early stage marketing and audience plans; to encourage the development of a local distribution market; for the IFB and local broadcasters to agree on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting out common ground for feature film, TV, drama, animation, documentary production and industry training; for the IFB and local broadcasters to identify mutual opportunities to co-fund Irish cinema and TV drama; to protect niche content companies; establish the Irish Film Channel; create a single content funding agency by transferring Sound and Vision BAI funds to IFB; and to increase percentage of locally produced children’s programming.
5. For Mobilisation of the Irish Industry and the Whole of Government, recommendations include an updated mandate for the IFB including a development of a Business/Enterprise Development Unit within the IFB; MoU’s between the IFB and Enterprise Ireland to enhance export growth and between the IFB and the IDA to coordinate FDI opportunities across the audiovisual industry; expansion of international networks with an emphasis on the Diaspora; and alignment of national policy with emerging EU policy.