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The Italian Way: The future of the film industry

Donnerstag 09 Jul 2020

The second Italian Way event, organised by UniCredit in collaboration with ANICA, looked at how companies in the cinema industry can prosper and restart

Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown have had a terrible domino effect on the whole cinema and audiovisual supply chain. This industry is worth €4 billion a year and has 2,000 active companies that employ more than 250,000 people. Due to the pandemic, it could lose 30-40% of its turnover in 2020. 

The second Italian Way event, held on 17 June in Rome, discussed these challenges and how companies in the sector can survive and thrive in a post-Covid world. The event was  organised in collaboration with ANICA, an association that represents the Italian film and audiovisual industry. 

Joining the discussion on how to restart the sector were Francesco Rutelli, President at ANICA, Andrea Casini, Co-CEO Commercial Banking Italy at UniCredit, Francesca Cima, ANICA Producers Department President, Giuseppe Zonno, Deputy Director RAI Cinema, Benedetto Habib, Partner Indiana Production, Lucio Izzi, Head of Corporate Sales & Marketing at UniCredit, Giampaolo Letta, Vice President and Managing Director at Medusa Film, Luigi Lonigro, ANICA Distributors Department President; Alessandro Usai, Managing Director at Colorado Film and Salvatore Pisconti, Regional Manager Centro at UniCredit. Guest star was film director Giuseppe Tornatore, who won an Oscar for Cinema Paradiso.  

UniCredit Film Industry Sector Report

1

The film industry is very important to Italy

It generates revenues of €4 billion a year, with 2000 active companies and more than 250,000 people employed (both directly and indirectly). Due to the pandemic, it could lose between 30 and 40% of its turnover in 2020.

2

Smaller companies are most vulnerable

Companies with under €1 million of turnover represent 79% of the cinema sector and constitute the backbone of our creative industries. But they could struggle to have the necessary resources to avoid financial tensions and invest in the relaunch phase.

3

The lockdown has had a domino effect on the whole cinema supply chain

The immediate effect of the pandemic was a collapse in box-office revenues, with Covid costing cinemas nearly 40% of their annual revenue. The lockdown also interrupted content supply chains as film-sets stopped and  content production slowed. Broadcasters are also suffering due to an estimate 15% decrease in television advertising sales in 2020. 

4

Cinema's loss is a win for streaming platforms

During lockdown streaming services recorded a spike in new subscribers prompting the share prices of streaming service providers to soar.

5

Cinemas are at most risk, but distributors and producers can survive

Distributors and producers are  more protected because they have other ways of using  their content libraries. On the other hand, most cinema owners will record a loss in 2020 and will need significant government and financial support to survive the crisis. Cinema owners will need to restructure to give themselves a new base, ensuring they have the right technology and real estate footprint to fight competition from TVs and the internet. 

6

The pillars to restart: innovation and finance

To survive and grow in the post-Covid scenario, film and audiovisual companies need to: 

  • invest in innovative production techniques, leveraging on new technologies (augmented, virtual and interactive reality) and in distribution strategies that take advantage of platforms. 
  • strengthen their financial structure to rapidly build the buffer needed for relaunch and restart 

Speaker quotes

Andrea Casini, CO-CEO, UniCredit Commercial Banking Italy

“The cinema sector is extremely important in Italy, but it is also amongst those most-affected by the health emergency and the lockdown. So it is vital that we ask ourselves new questions and take new routes: innovation is the key tool to make things change. Companies also need to strengthen their financial structure, trying to rapidly build the financial buffer needed to restart: a crucial liquidity injection that UniCredit is offering companies in the sector.”

Giuseppe Tornatore, Oscar-winning film director

“I’m worried that the health protocols and the cost containments will mean the film industry could lose its freedom of language”

Francesco Rutelli, President, ANICA

“UniCredit’s support in relaunching the supply chain’s ‘value chain’ is extremely important”

Giuseppe Zonno, Vicedirettore di RAI Cinema

“Strengthening tax credits would be desirable”

Alessandro Usai, Managing Director at Colorado Film

“I claim the need for producers to continue controlling platform strategies. During the lockdown, film distribution was guaranteed thanks to them”

Giampaolo Letta, Vice President and Managing Director, Medusa Film

“I’d like to underline the importance of foreign exports and investments for the cinema sector. I hope bureaucracy will be thinned down"

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